Aged care provider ACH has been awarded $75,000 to deliver a wellbeing initiative for older South Australians based on the use of video gaming platforms like Playstation and Nintendo.

Frank Weits

The Stay in the Game program, to be delivered in partnership with Flinders University, will give older people an input in design gaming options that enable them to stay active and connected, as well as fostering inter-generational connections.

The ACH program is based on the premise that online gaming and voice chat via games like Ark and Animal Crossing can encourage physical activity, social engagement and goalsetting among users.

Ark, for example, strands players on the shores of a mysterious island where they have to survive by taming prehistoric creatures. In Animal Crossing, players create their own paradise on a deserted island. They can show off their island to family and friends or visit theirs.

The games can be played with other online players or with family and friends beside to each other.

Building connections between generations

CEO Frank Weits says gaming provides an opportunity to interact socially and build connections between generations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many people to take up new technologies to stay connected with family and friends and gaming is another fun way for this to occur,” he says.

“We support lifelong learning and recognise the benefit of staying active and having meaningful engagement”.

He says ACH believes the initiative will be beneficial regardless of a person’s current technology use or knowledge.

“Our experience with introducing a Smart Technology service showed a high interest in embracing digital solutions to stay safe, healthy and connected at home,” he said.

Stay in the Game is one of 19 programs being delivered as part of the South Australian Government’s Open Your World strategy which aims to build community resilience and support physical, social and mental wellbeing in response to COVID-19.

The project is seeking interest from South Australians aged 65 years and over as well as younger people of all ages who have an older relative who would also like to be involved.

School teachers who would like their class involved can also contact ACH Group on 1300 22 44 77 to register their interest.

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