Development of an Exergame for Urban-dwelling Older Adults With Functional Limitations: Results and Lessons Learned

Prog Community Health Partnersh. Spring 2016;10(1):73-81. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2016.0005.


Background: Falls at home are common and potentially fatal for disabled older adults. To address this problem, we created an academic-community partnership involving disabled, urban-dwelling older adults and their families, the housing authority, a Tai Chi master, and a university.

Objectives: We conducted a pilot to assess safety, acceptability, and feasibility of a Wii-based exergame designed to increase disabled older adults' strength and balance.

Methods: A working prototype was developed and evaluated. Then, we piloted a refined version with 19 disabled urban-dwelling older adults.

Results: The program was enjoyable, feasible, and acceptable. Participants described multiple functional improvements. Of the 16 who completed at least three gaming sessions, average balance score increased 25% and gait speed increased 19%.

Conclusions: This pilot showed promising results for improving strength and balance in the home setting, and yielded valuable lessons about health technology development with community partners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / methods*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Tai Ji
  • Urban Population*
  • Video Games*