Video games and seniors rarely go together, but the Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL) Lab completed a project that will change that: exergaming (utilizing gaming as exercise). The Exergaming for the Elderly project was designed to increase the well-being — the physical, cognitive and social-emotional functioning — of healthy people who are 65 and older and living independently.
Exergames — video games that are controlled by physical movements of players — have demonstrated physical, cognitive and social-emotional benefits. Healthy seniors who live independently can experience these benefits. Physical activities support wellness and well-being, but little is known about the barriers and motivators for seniors to initiate and maintain exergaming.
The goal of Exergaming for the Elderly was to reveal unseen barriers that might exist, optimize the benefits exergames can provide for the overall well-being of seniors, understand exergaming behaviors of seniors and determine how seniors are motivated by exergames.
Researchers conducted an exploratory study that includes interviews, focus groups and a survey to investigate seniors' exergaming behaviors, along with an intervention study that investigated how exergaming behavior can be stimulated among seniors.