Although older adults face high risk for falls, many are unable to utilize community-based fall prevention programs due to their mobility limitations. In a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, Steve Hicks School of Social Work researchers found that a brief fall-prevention program that included a tablet-based, gamified exercise app was well received among low-income, homebound older adults and resulted in improvements such as increased exercise frequency.
Professor Namkee Choi and her team tested the acceptability of a fall prevention program that consisted of four 90-minute sessions delivered in the home by lay coaches trained and supervised by a physical therapist.
The program included components such as a fall risk assessment, home-safety check and improvements, coaching and practice for safe ambulation, and demonstration of how to use a free, tablet-based exercise app called “Keep on Keep Up” or KOKU.
As part of the program, each participant received an iPad preloaded with KOKU, which is operable without connection to the Internet. A team at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom developed KOKU specifically for older adults, with features like a relatable avatar who looks like an older man and speaks with a British accent. This study was the first U.S.-based test of the app.