Feasibility of a Low-Cost, Interactive Gaming System to Assess Balance in Older Women

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The use of low-cost interactive game technology for balance rehabilitation has become more popular recently, with generally good outcomes. Very little research has been undertaken to determine whether this technology is appropriate for balance assessment. The Wii balance board has good reliability and is comparable to a research-grade force plate; however, recent studies examining the relationship between Wii Fit games and measures of balance and mobility demonstrate conflicting findings. This study found that the Wii Fit was feasible for community-dwelling older women to safely use the balance board and quickly learn the Wii Fit games. The Ski Slalom game scores were strongly correlated with several balance and mobility measures, whereas Table Tilt game scores were not. Based on these findings, the Ski Slalom game may have utility in the evaluation of balance problems in community-dwelling older adults.

Hall is with the Auditory and Vestibular Research Enhancement Award Program, James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, TN; and the Department of Physical Therapy, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Clevenger is with Rehabilitation R & D, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, GA; and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. R.A. Wolf is with Rehabilitation R & D, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, GA. Lin is with the Residential Care Team, Swedish Medical Group, Seattle, WA. Johnson II is with Birmingham/Atlanta VA GRECC, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, GA; and the Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. S.L. Wolf is with the Atlanta VA Center of Excellence in Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation, Decatur, GA; the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine, Medicine, and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Address author correspondence to Courtney D. Hall at hallcd1@etsu.edu.