Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wii Therapy for Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

In February 2007, an article appearing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reported that nursing home residents with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can change the rate of deterioration through exercise. Residents who participate in moderate exercise can experience a significantly slower decline in function than those residents who receive routine care. In this study, individuals in the study group participated in hour long therapy sessions twice a week for 12 months. The therapy program included walking, along with strength, balance and flexibility training. The control group received normal care. This study, which took place in Toulouse, France was lead by Dr. Yves Rolland and measured the effects of the exercise program on individual’s activities of daily living, physical performance nutritional status, behavioral disturbance and depression. This study, which had 134 participants whose average age was 83, showed that individuals in the exercise group improved their activities of daily living scores significantly. Average walking speeds improved significantly in the exercise group also.

The Wii gaming system could be utilized in therapy for Alzheimer's patients with reduced ability to perform activities of daily living. Wii Bowling, Wii Baseball, Wii Tennis and Wii Golf provide a therapeutic opportunity to improve both flexibility and balance. The therapist may also place weights on the patients’ wrists as a means of incorporating strength training into the activity.

Furthermore, Wii encourages reminiscing. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease experience short term memory loss and often retreat to the past. These past memories often become their reality. Even though hand over hand cueing may be required for successful use of the game with this population, therapeutically playing Wii Bowling, Wii Baseball, Wii Tennis or Wii Golf, may stir memories of pleasant past experiences for these individuals. The therapeutic use of Wii may help reduce anxiety in this population.

1 comment:

Alzheimer’s clinic Toronto said...

Millions of people across the world are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and it’s been nice to have read this article.

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