Training Elderly People and their Carers with Games

Panagiotis Bamidis

Proceedings of ELEVIT2013 conference 

Abstract: Recent studies and workshops have stressed the fundamental importance of providing harmonised health  and social care services that meet the extended needs of the individual, taking into account diversity in need, preferences, ability and support. For a real caring  society, the notion of "active participation", "experiential learning" and "information sharing"  become all equally important, especially when communication and interaction in health care is needed.  To this extent, the role of game activities has recently become in focus. Games have been used in learning and education, but also in health care, and more specifically

in elderly care. So, this paper revisits recently funded projects undertaken by our team, in view of the socalled coordination of planned activities for elderly/disabled care and independent living support. A

single development pillar is taken under consideration  herein, namely, games for seniors in the era of social media and the semantic web. Outputs from a multitude of projects are then used to provide evidence of how  games may be utilised to produce valuable, measurable everyday results for both elderly people and their carers  in view of improving healthcare and promoting independent living and active aging in a modern society. In the above list, games have been used to train elderly persons to avoid dementia (or cognitive decline in general). Trials have been showing very good evidence that they are effective and long-lasting. In addition, games have been used as educational tools, to train the formal and informal carers of elderly persons. With respect to the later, game scenarios are treated as cases, in which a carer is faced with different options and based the outcomes of her choices the interaction develops further.