Nintendo Wii for the Elderly – Could it help stop the tumbles?

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A new research is being conducted by the University of Aberdeen. An interactive fitness craze which has attracted millions of young fans could dramatically cut the number of injuries suffered by elderly people. They are looking for volunteers over 70 who have fallen at least once in the past year and can attend regular sessions over the next 12 weeks.

The research will look at the effect of gentle exercises with the game’s balance board. Users stand on a board in front of the Wii Fit system and use movement rather than a handset to control the screen.

The idea of came from Dr Alison Stewart, commercial research manager with NHS Grampian and an honorary research fellow at the University of Aberdeen who is being funded by the British Geriatrics Society.

Study chief Dr Marie Fraser said:

“Falls are the most common cause of accidental injury in older people and the most common cause of accidental death in 75- year-olds and over.”

“The over 65s who live independently in the community fall at a rate of 30% a year, and this rises as they get older.”

“Falls cause real problems both for the individual and for our population as a whole. As well as causing injury, they can lead to loss of confidence, a fear of falling, reduced quality of life and even early death. They also have a healthcare cost.”

“NHS Grampian’s department of medicine for the elderly is working closely with colleagues at the University of Aberdeen to explore and develop innovative approaches to improving balance.

“We are evaluating the efficacy of computer-assisted exercise programmes to see if these are suitable and acceptable to the elderly population.”

For more information on the research see http://www.abdn.ac.uk/mediareleases/release.php?id=1671

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