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What are the benefits of playing bingo?

23rd June 2021

Bingo is stereotypically referred to as a game that older people play, but it actually is played by people of all ages, and it has been at the heart of communities across the UK since the 1960s and is now fully embedded into our society.

There are also many benefits of playing bingo for the elderly and younger adults too and this has become even more evident during the coronavirus pandemic.

Joe Wainer, who helps run the Bingo Daily website, explains how some people have continued to play during the pandemic and what some of the benefits of bingo are.

“Even with bingo halls closed during the pandemic, older people got together for games of socially distanced street bingo, balcony bingo, car park bingo and even zoom bingo. It is a great way to have fun, meet old friends and make new friends. Whilst the social benefits are hugely important, studies have proven that, for older people, playing bingo helps keep the mind sharp, and improves hand-eye coordination.

“Overall, bingo is a great way for older people to keep socially and mentally active, and with life-changing sums won every week, playing bingo really is a win-win situation.”

With National Bingo Day recently being celebrated (27 June), this article looks at the benefits of playing bingo for the elderly as well as the different websites and bingo halls where people can play bingo.

What is bingo?

Before leading on to the benefits of bingo, it is important to understand the game.

Bingo is a game of probability in which players have to mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are drawn randomly by a caller. The winner of the game is the first person who marks off all of their numbers, this may be a single row, a box or a full house.

Benefits of playing bingo for the elderly

•Inclusivity

•You can make new friends

•It can enhance your alertness and memory

•Exercises hand-eye coordination

•A competitive game that can improve your mood

•Great prizes

Inclusivity

No matter whether you suffer from mobility problems meaning you need to use stairlifts or a wheelchair or are suffering from another disability, bingo is an inclusive game where everyone can play regardless of ability levels.

People can bring friends, young or old, and sit down for an engaging game of bingo without worrying that anyone is going to be left out due to a physical limitation.

Joe Wainer from Bingo Daily shares some tips for those of you who have never played bingo before: “For beginners, bingo is an easy and fun game to learn and can be tried online or at a bingo club for little or even no money. If you are a bingo rookie, going to a club in the mornings and afternoons when it is less busy is best. Whilst online, there are quite a few options for free bingo to try.”

READ MORE: Great groups to join for the older person

You can make new friends

Some people struggle with loneliness and a feeling of isolation, which has been heightened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but games like bingo are great for people because they can increase social interaction.

Playing bingo is a great excuse to meet new friends, maintain an active social life and it encourages people to leave the house and be a part of social activities.

Bingo games also generally take place at the same time each week and this means it can easily become part of a routine for people.

Majestic Bingo, who formed in 2014 and are one of the leading independent operators of retail bingo with 14 clubs across England and Wales, spoke more about the social interaction it offers to older adults.

“Bingo is a fun, friendly and safe environment for people of all ages, and all are welcome. It’s particularly appealing to older people as it’s an opportunity to meet friends, old and new, and also to create memories whilst having the opportunity to perhaps win something too! It has been reported in the press before that bingo helps to keep people alert and the Bingo Association recently took the opportunity to lobby the Government with a campaign entitled ‘Bingo is my lifeline’ for people who have bingo as their only method of social interaction. We’re really excited for National Bingo Day 2021 and hope it will help unite the whole bingo community, and welcome new people, to play one of the nation’s favourite pastimes.”

It can enhance your alertness and memory

Bingo requires its players to be mentally alert and aware of the numbers on their card as the announcer is calling them out.

In fact, a research study that looked at the cognitive effects of playing bingo amongst older adults found that those who play bingo regularly have better memory as well as better reactions than those who do not.

The study adds: “They become more active and energetic. The game of bingo is also able to keep the mind in a competitive state where the speed is going to boost their emotional aspect of the mental stimulation.”

READ MORE: Useful apps and websites for older people

Exercises hand-eye coordination

Playing bingo can help adults to maintain their hand-eye coordination. Reduced hand-eye coordination can be caused by a number of things such as a reduced function in certain parts of the brain or changes in vision.

Bingo is a fast-paced game and it is this quickness and repetitive nature of the game that helps to exercise and improve your hand-eye coordination. This in turn can help with daily tasks such as cleaning and buttoning a shirt.

A competitive game that can improve your mood

If you have ever played a game of bingo with your friends or family you will have probably noticed slight competitiveness during the game and a sense of pride for the winner. You will have also noticed that there is a lot of laughter when playing the game.

Bingo is competitive in a fun way knowing that skill has very little to do with the outcome and that is another reason why there is a lot of laughter involved in bingo.

Laughter is known to decrease your stress hormones and increases the feel-good chemicals in your body. According to an article on the Help Guide website: “It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body.”

Great prizes

Undoubtedly one of the biggest benefits of playing bingo for the elderly and anyone else is the fact that you can win some great prizes.

There are some bingo halls where players can win luxury goods, a significant amount of money and even vouchers for a holiday.

Even if the game you are playing in doesn’t offer a prize, you’ll still have the bragging rights if you are playing alongside your family or friends if you win.

Where to play bingo online?

Whilst there are lots of bingo halls in the UK, there are lots of places where you can play the game online. If you are wondering where to play bingo online, below are some of the best sites you should use.

Majestic Bingo

Gala Bingo

Mecca Bingo

Foxy Bingo

From older adults who suffer from mobility issues and need a curved stairlift or a wheelchair to teenagers and children, bingo is an extremely popular game to play in the UK and is played by people of all ages. This article included just some of the benefits of playing bingo for the elderly, but there are even more!

If you want to read more articles like this, then check out the Mobility News section of the site.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.