Winston-Salem State University researchers visited a Clemmons, NC, retirement community Oct. 21 and 28 to study the effects of the Nintendo Wii Bowling game on the quality of life of the sixty and older population living in retirement facilities.
The researchers worked mainly with the residents and staff at Clemmons Village I and II on Holder Road. They performed some work at Independence Village on Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem.
Dr. Cynthia Bell, WSSU assistant professor of occupational therapy in the School of Health Sciences, Elizabeth Fain, WSSU occupational therapy instructor, and six students conducted the study. They used Nintendo’s Wii Bowling game to assess quality of life, confidence in preventing falls and social skills – three major areas in the lives of seniors.
“There have been a number of cases at senior communities in which people are led to believe that residents who play Nintendo Wii Bowling tend to experience greater quality of life. But that is based mostly on unofficial observation,” said Fain. “This study will scientifically confirm the true effects,” she noted.
Fear of falling has a major impact on mobility and consequently the social and other activities of residents of senior residential facilities, according to the researchers. “Those issues impact quality of life,” Bell said, noting that study results are planned for release in January. “Social relationships have a tendency to decrease with age when fewer social opportunities are available. Establishing supportive social relationships is central to the older person’s self-efficacy, well-being and continued success in socializing,” she added.
The study involves examining three groups. The participants in group A were exposed to virtual rehabilitation through the Nintendo Wii Bowling only. The participants in group B were exposed to both the Nintendo Wii Bowling and the fall prevention education (checklists, tips and low-impact exercises). The participants in group C were not be exposed to the Nintendo Wii or the fall prevention education.
Virtual rehabilitation is an interactive video game experience that utilizes gross and fine motor skills to enhance overall quality of life through physical and mental well-being.
The Nintendo Wii system is a recent technological advancement in the area of virtual reality video games and provides an interactive experience that blends physical activity and interface through simulation of real world environments. Participants can engage with the games one-on-one or in a group setting.<–>