Publication: Designing and Evaluating Digital Games for Frail Elderly Persons

Game research increasingly addresses human factors of gaming. Though more and more seniors become players, game design for frail elderly has rarely been explored. This paper addresses game design for senior citizens experiencing age-related changes, especially cognitive and physical limitations. We introduce and evaluate the case study SilverPromenade, which is specifically aimed at providing institutionalized frail elderly with a new leisure activity. SilverPromenade allows players to go on virtual walks while accounting for special needs regarding game complexity, and simplistic interaction paradigms are provided using Nintendo's Wii Remote and the Balance Board for game control. Evaluation results suggest that despite age-related impairments, the game was generally accessible to elderly persons. Yet, differences between inexperienced and experienced players were observed which suggest that interaction problems may be reduced by engaging with games over a longer time. Findings also indicate that the engagement of elderly players transcends into their everyday life, and their social interaction increases among one another. Most importantly, the evaluation showed that games were perceived as enjoyable leisure activity, supporting the approach of applying digital games to raise the quality of life among frail elderly by fostering activity.

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Participants

Kathrin Gerling
University of Lincoln
Frank Schulte
Maic Masuch

Citation

Gerling, K.M., Schulte, F., Masuch, M. 2011. Designing and Evaluating Digital Games for Frail Elderly Persons. In International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011), Lisbon, Portugal.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {235-a62-gerling,
author= {Kathrin Gerling and Frank Schulte and Maic Masuch},
title= {Designing and Evaluating Digital Games for Frail Elderly Persons},
booktitle= {International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011)},
year= {2011},
address= {Lisbon, Portugal}
}