Caregiver Games: Researcher Finds Game Playing to be Productive

Molly Schlanker, 11/7/2011

Caregiver games?  You may be wondering if you read this right.  It turns out there are many benefits received from involvement in game playing and now a new game for caregivers has been launched to deliver these benefits to caregivers.

The Caregiver Village, an online game for caregivers, debuts this month.  The online game brings a virtual world of caregivers together to share support, resources and humor with each other.  The game, called The Village Chronicles, challenges caregivers to solve a mystery while journeying through the struggles of caregiving.  Challenges appear, such as caregiving tasks, brain exercises and even a little romance (what do you do when your father’s doctor is also your high school boyfriend and single again?).

If you are wondering why there is a need for a caregiving game, the answer is not just because Angry Birds is the best selling iphone App.  Playing games, it turns out, fulfills some of our basic human needs, such as fulfillment and rewards.  Researcher and best-selling author Jane McGonigal, PhD, believes games will help us change the world for the better and that playing games is the most productive way to spend our free time.

Ms. McGonigal’s recent book, titled Reality Is Broken:  Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, explains why she feels building reality based online games will enable us to solve problems and live in a better world. She designs alternate reality games that are designed to improve real lives or solve real problems.  Game playing can enable players to build stronger social connections and relationships, become more resilient in the face of challenges and obstacles and deliver a full range of positive emotions.  The rewards of playing games can deliver happiness and a sense of achievement that are even more important if these are lacking in your real life.

Now caregivers have a game created just for them to receive all of these positive benefits.  You can read more about Berkeley gaming research and designer Jane McGonigal at her website.  Check out the Caregiver Village game this month and for every person who joins, the Caregiver Village, as part of their launch promotion, will donate $1 to the organization of your choice.

In the Caregiver Village community you will also be able to connect with friends, participate in book clubs with celebrity authors, journal, play mystery games, solve puzzles, and learn valuable information about caregiving. 

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