Purpose: Japan has been facing an aging society with a declining birthrate and it is urgently necessary to reduce the cost for medical and nursing care. Rehabilitation training is one of the keys to resolving the situation, but it is always difficult to motivate the elderly to spontaneously engage in exercise every day. We developed the game 'Rehabilium' to help stand-up exercise, which is strongly recommended in Japanese Guidelines for the Management of Stroke1. This paper presents usability data obtained through empirical studies in care facilities. Method: 'Rehabilium' is a game that displays a picture of a tree on the monitor. The tree grows in response to user's actual stand-up motion, which is sensed by Microsoft kinect with a variety of animations, beat voices, and cheerful music. While viewing a monitor, users repeat standing up and sitting down on a chair until they feel fatigued. A wide range of elderly people can use this game since stand-up exercise itself is simple and effective. The exercise is applicable in all stages of stroke recovery. Using this game, we compared the maximum number of times subjects could stand up under three conditions: exercise alone, exercise using the game 'Rehabilium', and exercise with a rehabilitation staff. We carried out this empirical study both in the hospital (n=48, Male/Female: 19/29, Age: 75.5±11.1) and the day care center (n=34, Male/Female: 8/26, Age: 80.5±10.3). Results & Discussion: As shown in Figure 1, there was a statistically significant increase in the maximum number of stand-up times when the subjects used the game during the exercise compared to those when they did it by themselves alone. No incidents of stumbling or falling down were reported through all the process during the study. From these results, we conclude 'Rehabilium' is a useful and safe game that helps the elderly voluntarily exercise and fulfilled nearly every role that a rehabilitation staff would perform in an equivalent manner. That shows also a possibility that it would be used effectively in elderly care facilities that are short of rehabilitation staff. This game is intended to be used only in the facilities under the assistance of care staff who advise the user's gesture properly, but more considerations need to be taken when it is used at home.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Geriatrics and Gerontology