ABLE: Arts-based therapies enabling longevity for geriatric outpatients
As the population of older adults in Canada increases, frailty becomes an urgent issue. Frailty can result in physical deconditioning and expedite pathways to reduced physical and mood health and social participation. Art, music and game play, however, are powerful therapeutic activities that can motivate participation in physical activity and may have synergistic effects, enhancing cognitive, physical and emotional health. This interdisciplinary team, consisting of scholars in aging, health, engineering and media technologies, has created the project ABLE to tackle this problem. The ABLE project offers arts‐ and games- based movement experiences using its unique unobtrusive wearable technology to encourage older adults to engage in therapeutic exercises. Participants’ movements produce unique feedback by creating digital paintings or adding a percussion track to a favorite song; this could be enhanced in the next iteration, which will involve multi‐player and cross‐generational gaming. The team anticipates that the pleasure older adults experience while engaging in these arts-based therapies will encourage consistent, long‐term commitment to the program. The research team will capture data throughout the research process to determine how the ABLE platform impacts cognitive, physical, and emotional parameters.
"Funding from the Labarge Centre is helping older adults with frailty and dementia to engage in physical therapy and movement that feels like a game, increasing their activity levels and improving their mobility and mood"
— Paula Gardner