Erica Dove is developing an exercise video game for people living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
An innovative video game project led by a KITE trainee has been featured in the 2022 Public Health Agency of Canada’s Dementia Strategy Annual Report.
This report examines the effectiveness of Canada’s national strategy on dementia. The goal of which is to create a Canada in which all people living with dementia and caregivers are valued and supported, quality of life is optimized, and dementia is prevented, well understood, and effectively treated.
KITE’s Erica Dove is developing the exercise video game for people living with dementia and mild cognitive impairments as part of a PhD research project. The aim of the game is to improve balance and reduce fear of falling, which could help lower the risk of falls for people living with dementia.
“I thought making an exercise video game was a really fun and novel way to introduce something I’ve seen people with dementia enjoy,” said Dove, a member of KITE’s Dementia Ageing Technology Engagement (DATE) Lab. “Creating a game that’s accessible and engaging for people with dementia is really necessary.”
Dove has witnessed firsthand how prevalent falls are for this population. Her grandmother, who lived with dementia, experienced a few falls.
While working as a research assistant for KITE scientist and director of the DATE Lab Dr. Arlene Astell in 2016, Dove observed the positive impact of exercise video games in adult day programs for people living with dementia. The experience inspired her to launch this project in which she is collaborating with caregivers, clinicians, researchers, and people with lived experience.
“I’m implementing evidence-based approaches into the game to target variables related to falls,” said Dove, a PhD student at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. “In addition to incorporating specific exercises, the game will also have users engage repeatedly in activities that can make them more confident in other movement situations.”
The game prototype is expected to be ready for user testing by this summer and completed by 2024. Dove is currently looking to collaborate with a game developer.
If you or anyone you know is interested please reach out to Dove at: email@example.com or (416) 597-3422 ext. 7842.