According to the CDC, more than one in four older adults fall each year. Falls may lead to fear of falling, decreased mobility, dependence, increased risk of future falls, and even death. The goal of a fall prevention and balance program is to decrease future falls and improve functional mobility, safety, and quality of life. Rehabilitation for those at risk of falling may include training for static and dynamic balance, gait, dual-task (DT) activity, and cognition which may be accomplished with virtual reality.
- Mixed Reality (MR) interventions include a combination of real-world and virtual reality elements. MR can have a positive effect
on physical function in the elderly, and can help them perform exercise which may prevent falls. (Nishchyk et al., 2021)
- Virtual reality games were superior for balance improvements and reduced fear of falling compared to conventional interventions.
(Neri et al., 2017)
- In older adults, DT training can improve balance and walking speed, resulting in reduced fall risk. (Varela-Vàsquez et al., 2020)
- Virtual reality training optimizes balance and gait training outcomes through the use of motor learning principles: external focus of
attention, implicit learning, variable practice, high training intensity, task specificity, and feedback. (Papegaaij et al., 2017)
Advanced Rehab Technology:
Clinicians should assess the cause of a fall or the factors that place the person at risk for falling, the impairments leading to limitations
in self-care and mobility tasks, and identify appropriate patient specific treatments (ACP, 2019). The OmniVR® may play an integral role in an effective Fall Prevention and Balance program by providing individualized interactive activities developed to address functional rehabilitation in older adults.
Accelerated Care Plus (ACP) Corporation. (2019) GG Impairment Crosswalk. MRK 0511
Neri, S. G., Cardoso, J. R., Cruz, L., Lima, R. M., de Oliveira, R. J., Iversen, M. D., & Carregaro, R. L. (2017). Do virtual reality games improve mobility skills and balance measurements in community-dwelling older adults? Systematic review
and meta-analysis. Clinical rehabilitation, 31(10), 1292–1304. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269215517694677
Nishchyk, A., Chen, W., Pripp, A. H., & Bergland, A. (2021). The Effect of Mixed Reality Technologies for Falls Prevention Among Older Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JMIR Aging, 4(2), e27972. https://doi.org/10.2196/27972
Papegaaij, S., Morang, F., & Steenbrink, F. (2017). Virtual and augmented reality based balance and gait training [White paper]. Motek Medical. https://knowledge.motekmedical.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Motek-White-Paper-VR-and-AR.pdf
Varela-Vásquez, L. A., Minobes-Molina, E., & Jerez-Roig, J. (2020). Dual-task exercises in older adults: A structured review of current literature. Journal of frailty, sarcopenia and falls, 5(2), 31–37. https://doi.org/10.22540/JFSF-05-031