Understanding older adults' perceptions of and attitudes towards exergames

Laura H. Barg-Walkow, Christina N. Harrington, Tracy L. Mitzner, Jordan Q. Hartley, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose Maintaining physical activity is a key component of successful aging and has benefits for both physical and cognitive functioning in the older adult population. One promising method for engaging in physical activity is through exergames, which are video games designed to promote exercise. Exergames have the potential to be used by a wide range of people, including older adults, in a variety of settings, such as at home, in community living environments, or senior centers. However, exergames have not been designed for older adults (e.g., with respect to their attitudes, needs). Thus, older adults may not adopt these systems if they perceive them as not useful or relevant to them. Method Twenty older adults (aged 60-79) interacted with two exergames, and were then interviewed about their perceptions of the system's ease of use and usefulness, as well as their general attitudes towards the system. Results Participants identified the potential for exergames' usefulness for various goals, such as to increase their physical activity. However, they also reported negative attitudes concerning the system, including perceiving barriers to system use. Overall, participants said they would use the system in the future and recommend it to other people at their age for improving health, despite these use challenges. Conclusion The older adults were open to adopting exergames, which could provide opportunities to increase physical activity. Given the participants' overall positive perceptions of the usefulness of exergames, designers must address the perceived challenges of using these systems. Understanding barriers and facilitators for older adults' use of exergames can guide design, training, and adoption of these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalGerontechnology
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Keywords

  • Exergames
  • Older adults
  • System perceptions
  • Technology acceptance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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