Xbox consoles are being set up at Retirement Villages locations across England, enabling residents to learn how to game and connect family generations online.
Loneliness among the older population is on the rise, with a million people going over a month without speaking to anyone, according to Age UK. And during Covid-19, that sense of isolation has worsened due to shielding and having very limited opportunities to meet with family. Meanwhile gaming amongst the younger generation as a means to connect, socialise and build relationships is on the rise.
To encourage the older generations to connect with their grandchildren in a completely new and exciting way, Retirement Villages is working with Xbox with the ambition to set up gaming consoles in a number of their retirement communities across the UK. Staff at the villages want to encourage residents to pick up a controller and go on a virtual road trip together with their younger relatives in Forza or sailing the virtual seas together in Sea of Thieves. In the virtual world the two generations can spend longer together, finding common ground in gaming and open up to each other about their lives – something a 5-minute video call cannot achieve.
Retirement Villages Group is hoping to find new ways of enabling its residents to connect with their families, through gaming. They want to inspire and empower them to learn a new skill and take their first steps into the virtual world of online gaming and find new ways to spend time with their grandchildren.
Beyond Generations is an initiative first launched by Xbox to help bridge the generational divide in families, by connecting the young and old through the power of gaming. Xbox are committed to making gaming inclusive for all, and have partnered with Age UK to shed light on some of the incredible ways they are working to help support older people who need it most.
“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.
“Lockdown has ultimately compelled residents to embrace technology in order to communicate with friends and family. Introducing this initiative to the village, offers a solution to communicate as well as engage, bond, find common ground and immerse in the fun of gaming!” says Chetan Sharma, Village Manager at Elmbridge Village
“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.