Xbox combats loneliness in retirement homes across England
By Bela Pitamber on Wednesday, May 5, 2021
In an attempt to combat the loneliness felt by the elderly population, Retirement Villages is working with Xbox and McCann with the aim to set up gaming consoles in several of their retirement communities across the UK.
According to Age UK, a million people go over a month without speaking to anyone, and during COVID-19, that sense of isolation has worsened due to legal laws and requirements such as social distancing. However, for the younger generation, gaming as a means to connect, socialise and build relationships is on the rise.
With a mission to connect older generations with their grandchildren, staff at the villages are prompting residents to pick up a controller and go on a virtual road trip together with their younger relatives in Forza or to sail the virtual seas together in Sea of Thieves. In this virtual world, the two generations can create unexpected yet exciting memories together, spend longer time with one another and actively bond due to common ground. Something which a short video call cannot achieve.
‘Beyond Generations’ is an initiative first launched by Xbox in partnership with Age UK, to help bridge the generational gap in families and connect them through the power of gaming.
“COVID has triggered a huge change in how technology is used, particularly in connecting people and helping us alleviate loneliness. We are particularly interested in helping different generations to come together and share experiences. This is what the Xbox project is about. Having fun with a purpose,” says Will Bax, chief executive of Retirement Villages.
“At first I didn’t know what to expect, but the driving game was interactive and actually quite fun (once I got the hang of the controls!). I had always assumed that gaming was for youngsters but we can’t let them have all the fun!” says Hazel, Elmbridge Village resident.