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Modification of the motor skills of elderly people in EHPAD using serious games and impact of COVID-19: field study

JMIR serious games. 2022 May 10;10(2):e36768. doi: 10.2196/36768.


BACKGROUND: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of low-threshold exercise and physical activity opportunities. In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to many restrictions, which affected older people in care facilities in the form of severe isolation. Isolation has led, among other things, to a lack of exercise, which has led to a multitude of negative effects for this target group. Serious games have the potential to help by being used anywhere and anytime to build skills with few resources.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a serious game to strengthen motor skills (study 1) and the influence of pandemic restrictions (study 2) on elderly people in residential care.

METHODS: Data on motor skills (measured by the Tinetti test) were from a repeated measures intervention study that was interrupted by pandemic conditions. Data were collected 4 times every 3 months with an intervention group (IG, training 3 times for 1 hour per week) and a control group (CG, no intervention). There were 2 sub-studies. The first considered the first 6 months until pandemic restrictions, while the second considered the influence of restrictions on motor skills.

RESULTS: The sample size was 70. The IG included 31 (44%) participants, with 22 (71%) women and 9 (29%) senior men with a mean age of 85 years. The CG included 39 (56%) participants, including 31 (79%) women and 8 (21%) senior men with an average age of 87 years. In Study 1, mixed-design ANOVA showed no significant interaction between measurement times and group membership for the first measurements (F2.136=1.414, P<.25 partial but there was a significant difference between cg sd and ig at the third measurement time .02 in study mixed-design anova to motor skills before after pandemic conditions groups could not reveal any interaction times group membership: f>1.67=2.997, P<.09 partial however there was a significant main effect of measurement time: f>1.67=5.44, P<.02 partial>

CONCLUSIONS: During the first 6 months, the IG showed an increase in motor skills, while the motor skills of the CG deteriorated slightly and showed a statistically significant difference after 6 months. Pandemic restrictions leveled the difference and showed a significant negative effect on motor skills over 3 months. As our results show, digital games have the potential to break down access barriers and promote the necessary retention of important skills. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of opportunities for exercise and low-threshold physical activity. This potentially significant benefit for tomorrow’s challenges shows the relevance of the subject and demonstrates the urgency of action and research.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Deutsches Register klinischer Studien DRKS00016633;

PMID:35536610 | DOI: 10.2196/36768

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