What impact, if any, can Pokemon GO have on senior living?

By Kandi Short

Since its initial launch date a few weeks ago, Pokemon GO has become one of the fastest growing app-based video games in history. No doubt your social media newsfeeds have been filled with Pokemon GO references and memes. Whether you’re one of the millions — like myself (Go Team Instinct!) — that have joined in the craze and downloaded the app, or one of the hold outs that refuses to join in the hysteria, you can not deny the impact the game is having on popular culture. Feel free to click on the button below for a Beginner’s Guide to Pokemon GO provided by iMore.com:


Because Pokemon GO is a location-based AR [augmented reality] app, there are multiple businesses and companies that have seen a positive flow of traffic to their establishments. In fact, one small business reported a 75% increase in business due to the game. This is due primarily to people “catching” virtual Pokemon near their business and/or visiting PokeStops, where players can collect items via a virtual cache by visiting that specific location.

PokeStops are located at relatively random geographic locations — businesses, parks, churches — scattered throughout each region. With the game focusing on location, senior living communities can actually capitalize on this fun trend, especially if you have a PokeStop nearby. If you don’t have a PokeStop near your community, fear not! ShackNews.com has provided a how-to-guide to request a PokeStop be added to your location . . .


However, one of the best aspects about this game — which can be especially beneficial for senior living — is that it promotes getting outside and walking. In order to hatch your virtual Pokemon Eggs, you have to walk a certain distance, measured via your phone’s gps tracking system. The more you walk and explore your neighborhood, the better chance of finding more Pokemon. It is an extremely user friendly game — requiring little-to-no prior video game knowledge — designed to be played by users of all ages. The only requirement is the ability to download the free app to your smart phone.

Some communities are already getting proactive about the game for their senior residents. St. Joseph Village in Coppell, Texas has scheduled a Pokemon GO class for seniors! What about you . . . are your residents getting in on the fun?


I will say that the biggest flaw in the game — other than that its sheer popularity can frequently overwhelm the servers — is that it is almost too addicting. Some players have apparently been so wrapped up in playing the game that they don’t pay attention to their surroundings. There have been numerous news stories in recent days talking about accidents or injuries directly or indirectly caused as a result of distracted Pokemon GO players. However, as long as you’re playing safe and staying alert, it is definitely one of the more entertaining — and healthy — free apps available for smartphone users.

So what do you think? Is Pokemon GO just another passing craze or is Augmented Reality gaming/apps the wave of the future? Have your residents already started playing? Have you?