Reach Out and Play: Fueling multigenerational connection through game nights

When you were younger, you might have had “family game night,” huddled around the kitchen table with dice and tokens. Besides the happy memories this brings, those game nights may actually help boost one’s health. Social connections, sense of purpose and an active mind can be key parts of healthier aging. Coming together to play games can be one way to encompass all three — while helping to reduce isolation.

In light of this, Ageless Innovation’s Reach Out and Play campaign, sponsored by AARP, will host board game events across the country through the end of the year.

Various organizations will host board game events across the country, and people are also encouraged to host their own with family and friends. These activities will bring people of all ages together through the power of play, and create meaningful connections for older adults.

Social isolation and loneliness for older adults can have a massive effect on their health. Loneliness has been found to lead to health risks, such as depression, cognitive decline, hypertension and more. Social isolation may lead to cardiovascular disease, a reduced quality of life and other health issues. Personal connections, no matter what the activities, can help foster better health.

“Social connection, camaraderie, and even some problem-solving — all of these things can be important contributors to the health of older adults,” said Dr. Philip Painter, chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “Events like this can bring people of all ages together for fun, but also drive a sense of wellness, which is so vital as we age.”

For information on Reach Out and Play, including how to find and register for an event in your area, visit And, check out reimagined versions of Scrabble, The Game of Life, and Trivial Pursuit — interpretations that encourage intergenerational play.

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