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UQ Develops Digital Game to Help Fight Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Image Credits: UQ, Press Release.

UQ Healthy Living is helping over-50s in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, with a new digital game designed to train both the body and the brain. A cognitive training platform called Senso is available at UQ Health Living’s new Members Studio, launched in partnership with The University of Queensland and UQ Health Care.

The UQ Healthy Living Clinical Director stated that the boutique exercise space, which is additional to the facility’s allied health services, offers personalised programs using safe, smart, simple-to-use equipment. He noted that the team is excited about offering Senso as part of their incredible suite of computerised equipment. The machines are unique to UQ Healthy Living, providing smart card technology that automates air resistance, posture and repetitions to match each client’s prescribed program.

Senso trains gait, reaction time and cognitive function to enhance concentration, memory and spatial awareness. This form of training is proving to be effective in improving balance and building cognitive reserve. It was noted that cognitive health is supported by the latest cutting-edge research on the importance of physical and social activity in promoting the brain’s resilience.UQ Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Executive Dean said the new studio put the latest research and emerging advice into practice, for optimal healthy ageing.

It was noted UQ PhD students are working on a number of projects that utilise client data recorded from the smart touch technology and client’s performance over time. A key element of UQ Healthy Living is the unique interprofessional model that addresses cognitive, physical, mental and social wellbeing all under one roof. The Facility has students from exercise physiology, exercise and sport sciences, dietetics, physiotherapy, psychology and counselling working with experienced clinical health practitioners to develop interventions for clients. Clients can also attend a range of educational workshops conducted by students providing valuable industry experience for students.

There is a range of exercise options for over 50s at UQ Healthy Living, from highly supported speciality programs to independent exercise in the Members Studio. Intake health assessments determine which services are best suited to new clients.

A study found that tech ownership among older adults is growing with no signs of slowing down. The report notes that for many devices, adoption among adults ages 50 and older is comparable to younger generations. Adults ages 50 and older are adopting smartphones, wearables, home assistants/smart speakers, and smart home technology at nearly the same rate as adults ages 18–49.

Younger adults have abandoned tablets, but older adults are adopting tablets at an increasing rate: More than half (52%) of adults ages 50 and older own a tablet. Once adopted, usage of smartphones, wearables, tablets, home assistants/smart speakers, and smart home technology is high with most owners using their technology daily. While older adults are highly engaged with their devices, many are not using the technology to its full potential.

Adults ages 50 and older are using smartphones and tablets to maintain social connections, find information, and for entertainment, but only a few are using their devices to automate their homes or conduct transactions. Engaging in social media is one of the most common uses of a tech device (e.g., computer, tablet, or smartphone). Though 49% claim to own a smart TV, only 42% are using streaming or online options to watch shows. Nearly half (46%) of all smart home assistant/smart speaker owners do not use their devices daily.

Secure home technology is an emerging market, but privacy concerns need to be addressed. Adults 50 and older are interested in smart home safety technology and devices that provide convenience, safety, and peace of mind. They also have a significant interest in home security technology, specifically door cameras (59%), sensors that monitor doors and windows (48%), and appliances (42%).

However, just 14% are extremely/very confident that what they do online is private. Among home assistant device owners, just 11% are confident their information is private on the device. Demand for health and wellness technology to enhance provider care is increasing among older adults. With 76% of adults age 50 and older indicating a desire to age in place, voice-activated tools such as home assistants and home health care technology (emergency or virtual care) are relevant potential purchases for them. If offered a choice, over half (53%) would prefer to have their health care needs managed by a mix of medical professionals and health care technology.

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