Perhaps one of the biggest problems older people face today is a lack of human connection; Whether it is about living far away from family members or having no family and friends at all, the loneliness of our older generation is a growing problem worldwide. While it is no surprise that the virtual worlds of gaming have become places where players can build and maintain real relationships, these worlds can also create important connections between older and younger family members. When we play, we believe in the power of playing to bring people together.
“Games are a source of joy, inspiration and social connection,” says Xbox Phil Spencer. “They have the power to bring us together, create empathy and strengthen our social fabric.”
With Xbox: Beyond GenerationsOur goal is to highlight the relationship potential of modern games and to encourage younger people to play with older family members.
For the elderly, loneliness has become a serious problem that negatively affects their physical health. According to Age UK, nearly 2 million older people in the UK expect to find themselves feeling lonely on this vacation. And it’s a global problem; A sense of isolation is something that many elderly people around the world face on a daily basis.
Xbox: Beyond Generations aims to bridge these generation gaps in families. The initiative kicks off with a short documentary, “Howard & Dhillon’s Story”, which follows the story of a real family on their way to reconnection via games. Grandfather Howard and grandson Dhillon, who live nearly a three-hour drive from each other, had a close relationship when they were both younger. But when Howard became less physically able to perform activities with Dhillon, they drifted apart.
“My grandfather with his knee injury can no longer walk around the garden with us. We stopped doing the things that really kept us close, ”says Dhillon.
Over the course of four weeks we see the relationship they once had come back to life. Howard and Dhillon’s ability to take virtual road trips in Forza or to sail virtual ships together Sea of thievesActivities together that they can no longer do in real life become the catalyst to opening up about their lives and forming a deeper bond, which is difficult to repeat with regular phone calls.
To help spark that spark of connection within families, Xbox works with several charities around the world that care for the needs of the elderly. In the UK, Xbox will support Age UK and its international work through Age International. Donations are made so that our charity partners can do important work for the elderly and their communities that provide emotional, social, and practical support.
Anyone can make change. There are several ways you can play a role. Age UK and Age International need donations to fund their important work. So if you are able, donate today. Or consider becoming an Age UK Digital Buddy – someone who helps older people become familiar with technology and how to use it to connect with friends, family, and get the support they need most need.
“At Age UK and Age International, our mission is simple: to support older people who need us most, especially those who cannot be reached,” said Laurie Boult, Age UK’s fundraising director. “Technology can really help us all socialize, but sometimes the most vulnerable older people need more. This is where we come in. We support older people emotionally, socially and practically in more than 25 countries with programs ranging from emergency humanitarian aid to access to income and pensions to health care, advocacy and government influence to address the needs of older people. “
Perhaps one of the easiest things many of you can do to make a difference is to literally see the worth and potential of older people. This holiday season – a time when many are booting up to a new console – consider leaving an old console to collect dust and giving it to an older family member. And maybe challenge them to a game or two. It could be what starts a whole new chapter in your relationship.