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Co-developing a social exergaming platform to help older adults with mild memory problems maintain functional independence

Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: ES/X00693X/1
Funded under: ESRC Funder Contribution: 51,816 GBP

Co-developing a social exergaming platform to help older adults with mild memory problems maintain functional independence

Description

For people living with dementia (PWD) the eventual loss of independence is a certainty. The question is not if, but when PWD will lose independence and need assistance to accomplish even simple tasks. Losing independence causes severe emotional distress to PWD, their families, and friends. It is taxing to the physical and mental health of loved ones who provide unpaid care, and costs the UK economy over £29 billion per year. Our goal is to help people with mild dementia remain independent for as long as possible as we believe it is still possible to live well, and age well, throughout the dementia journey. We know that staying physically active, cognitively stimulated, and socially engaged can keep people with mild dementia independent for longer. With PWD as co-creators, we will take a holistic approach and design video games that promote a balanced lifestyle. Using motion capture technology, the games would promote physical activity, be cognitively stimulating, and can be played socially with others. In the short term, this should delay the point at which PWD lose independence, delay their move into assisted living, and promote general wellbeing. In the long-term, these games could delay or prevent many age-associated clinical disorders, aid clinical professionals in diagnosing and managing diverse conditions, and promote independence and wellbeing in older adults diagnosed with varied clinical conditions. Through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, these games should reduce all-cause mortality. Together, these outputs will reduce the individual and societal costs associated with loss of independence.

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