When ageing, there is a progressive decline in physical function in older people leading to problems such as postural instability and falls. Falls are the leading cause of disability, injuries or even death among older adults. Exercise programmes that include a balance component reduce the risk of falling by 40%. However, such interventions are often perceived as boring and drop-out rates are high. The characteristics of videogames may overcome this weakness and increase exercise adherence. There are however some negative impacts which are inherent to the use of video games due to the limitation of available commercial video games which have not been designed for the purpose of providing therapeutical support for the cohort. The research objective of this work is to investigate the feasibility of using video games as an effective tool for improving the physical health of the elderly.
The specific objectives of this research are:
- To study the academic literature in order to develop an understanding of the current status of this area and identify the issues that have not been addressed.
- To understand the ageing process to identify the needs, preferences, capabilities and limitations of the aged cohort.
- To investigate formal methods to clinically assess and validate health outcomes
- To utilise off the shelf gaming technology such as game consoles, remote controllers and input
- devices to set up prototypes to illustrate proof of concept as far as possible.
- To develop a fully functioning prototype addressing the requirements found in the literature.
- To verify the validity and responsiveness of the prototype.
- To develop a generic framework.