Senior Fall Prevention in a Video Game

How many seniors fall each year? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency rooms in 2010, and the direct medical costs of falls was more than $28.0 billion. The death rates from falls among elderly men and women continue to rise.

Blue Marble Game Company’s Zoezi Park is a game developed by the Los Angeles company that uses cameras and sensors to create an onscreen avatar that mimics the player’s movements. The game then provides exercises and activities that improve balance, coordination and physical strength. The data can be accessed by a healthcare professional online. Zoezi Park can be used anywhere there is an internet connection — senior centers, rehab facilities or in the privacy and comfort of a senior’s own home.

Blue Marble’s goal is to merge cutting-edge technology with the fun of gesture-based video gaming to positively impact the health and wellbeing of those older adults at risk of or rehabilitating from a fall.

The Zoezi Park project was previously supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, but since budget cuts, that funding is no longer available. The company, in conjunction with the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Three Two One Productions is using crowdfunding to raise their goal of $30,000 by July 13, 2013.

The following statistics are from the Zoezi Park Crowdfunding page at When You Wish:

  • 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day with 1 in 3 of them experiencing a fall each year.
  • Each fall costs $48,000 on average.
  • The leading cause of injury related death in people over 65 is falls.
  • Falls are a public health problem.

Senior caregivers can gain more caregiving safety skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course. Professional caregivers are taught the basic safety skills for transferring a senior and assisting with walking when they begin working for a senior care company. Those who would like to work as a professional caregiver should remember that Companion Caregivers only require personal experience (as often seniors with memory loss may require ongoing caregiving just to keep medications and daily activities on track). Caregivers and C.N.A.'s may apply for a caregiving job in their area to begin a career in senior care.

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