Background: Falls are a leading cause of injury and death for old adults, with one risk factor for falls being balance deficits. The low cost (<400 USD), wide availability, and ability to incorporate multiple training paradigms make gaming systems appealing as possible balance intervention tools.
Aims: To investigate the feasibility of using the Xbox Kinect for training to improve clinical measures of balance in old adults and retain improvements after a period of time.
Methods: Thirteen healthy old adults (aged 70+ years) were randomly divided into two groups. The experimental group completed Kinect training three times a week for 3 weeks while the control group continued with normal activities. Four clinical measures of balance were assessed before training, 1 week and 1 month after training: Berg balance scale (BBS), Fullerton advanced balance (FAB) scale, functional reach (FR), and timed up and go (TUG).
Results: The ability to implement the training program was successful. The experimental group significantly increased their BBS and FAB after training while the control group did not. There was no significant change for either groups with FR and TUG.
Conclusion: A training program using the Kinect with commercially available games was feasible with old adults. Kinect training may be an inexpensive way for old adults to receive helpful feedback encouraging them to continue with balance training program in their home.
Keywords: Postural balance; Quality of life; Training; Video games.