Monday, July 28, 2008

Printout: Wii - Play it Safe

Playing the Wii is a great activity for older adults living in retirement communities. These independent elders are excited to find a computer related activity that both contains subject matter familiar to them (Bowling, Baseball, Tennis) and presents new technology in an easy to learn format. The enthusiasm that Wii generates may result in over-indulgence in the activity.

For maximum enjoyment, suggestions for the safe use of the Wii Gaming System should be posted in an obvious spot near where the game is set up for casual use. Below is a Safety Tip Sheet from The Wii OT, Mershon W. Hinkel, MSPH, OTR/L, that may be copied and placed either in a free-standing frame on the table top, or on the wall where the Wii is being used.


Wii is a great activity for all ages. By using a wireless remote, Wii has taken "playing" video games off the couch. Wii games are a physical activity, a social activity, and a wonderful way to interact with younger generations.

For an enjoyable, safe, and healthy time playing the Wii, follow the guidelines below:

1. Always use the included Wii wrist strap and the Wii remote safety jacket. The wrist strap prevents accidentally dropping or throwing the remote, and the jacket gives the remote a softer and less slippery surface.

2. Don't overdo it, especially when you're first starting out. Like with playing any new game or sport, you may find yourself using muscles you don't usually use, and these muscles may become strained or sore. Stretching before playing and using ice to relieve any soreness after playing can protect muscles and tendons from injury.

3. If you are concerned about your ability to balance, many of the Wii games can be played sitting down. You may also wish to use a form of support for extra safety to avoid falling.

4. Be sure the playing area is clear of potential obstacles that may get in the way of your arms or legs when playing. Be sure you are not too close to other players or observers.

5. If you have a condition such as epilepsy, are prone to motion sickness, or have a pacemaker, you may want to discuss using Wii and other video games with your health care provider prior to playing.

6. To avoid the spread of germs, wipe the remote's surface with a sanitizing wipe. Players may also want to use hand sanitizing gels between turns.

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