Effects of balance training using a virtual-reality system in older fallers
Balance problems in older adults are highly associated with falls. Exercise is often used to improve balance. The implementation of exercise in real-life settings has been challenging. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of a virtual-reality system on the balance in a population of community-dwelling older subjects with a known history of falls.
30 Participants (>65 yrs) in the virtual reality-training group had two sessions of balance training per week for 6 weeks under the guidance of a physiotherapist. 40 participants (>65 yrs) had no virtual reality training. Each training session lasted 30 minutes and consisted of a combination of visual-vestibular rehabilitation and postural training virtual reality exercises.
After completing their virtual reality training protocol, participants showed a significant improvement in their Limits of Stability (LOS) and Center of Pressure (COP). In addition, 9 months after their initial assessment, the virtual reality training group showed a significant reduction in both the incidence of falls and in their levels of fear of falling.
The authors conclude that virtual reality training is not intended to replace, but rather to complement, other prevention intervention programs. > From: Duque et al., Clin Interv Aging 8 (2013) 257–263.
A link to the free full text article can be found here.
In the YouTube clips below you can find a few examples of virtual reality rehabilitation.