Dr. Charlene Chu awarded grant from New Frontiers in Research Fund

17 May 2019

Dr. Charlene Chu has been awarded a project grant from the New Frontiers in Research Fund/ Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for her interdisciplinary study Developing and assessing an innovative exergaming technology for older adults living in long-term care homes with a user-centred design approach. This high-reward project aims to create a new category of exergaming for older adults who reside in long-term care (LTC) homes, paving the way to engage them into gaming design internationally and ultimately have a positive impact on their physical and cognitive health.

At present time, residents living in long-term care homes spend up to 75% of their day in sedentary, socially withdrawn situations, which increases their risk for a number of health-related issues and increased care costs. Physical activity is known to improve the physical health, cognition and well-being of older adults. However, her literature review found there were no exergaming systems specifically designed with residents in LTC and suited to meet their needs.

Recent reports from the World Health Organization emphasize a critical need for interventions that can help older adults maintain their physical and cognitive health and reduce social isolation. Despite this, the body of evidence regarding the validity of exergaming as an activity for older adults is outdated and features now obsolete systems, Dr. Chu’s study is a response to the urgent need to develop and assess innovative exergaming technologies that can support the physical and cognitive health of LTC residents. Researchers will examine the integration of an innovative, interactive exergaming technology for older adults to play familiar games – in LTC homes.

The results of this research study will lead to a translatable exergaming platform, and guide the development of a framework for an emerging industry of technologies devoted to supporting the health of residents in LTC.

Dr. Chu is among the first group of researchers to benefit from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), and one of 10 researchers funded at the University of Toronto. The Government of Canada launched the NRNF to help Canadian researchers make the next great discoveries in their fields.

Read more about the New Frontiers In Research Fund.