DOI: 10.3390/s23177451 ISSN:

Smartphone- and Paper-Based Delivery of Balance Intervention for Older Adults Are Equally Effective, Enjoyable, and of High Fidelity: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Vipul Lugade, Molly Torbitt, Suzanne R. O’Brien, Patima Silsupadol
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Analytical Chemistry

Home-based rehabilitation programs for older adults have demonstrated effectiveness, desirability, and reduced burden. However, the feasibility and effectiveness of balance-intervention training delivered through traditional paper-versus novel smartphone-based methods is unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate if a home-based balance-intervention program could equally improve balance performance when delivered via smartphone or paper among adults over the age of 65. A total of 31 older adults were randomized into either a paper or phone group and completed a 4-week asynchronous self-guided balance intervention across 12 sessions for approximately 30 min per session. Baseline, 4-week, and 8-week walking and standing balance evaluations were performed, with exercise duration and adherence recorded. Additional self-reported measures were collected regarding the enjoyment, usability, difficulty, and length of the exercise program. Twenty-nine participants completed the balance program and three assessments, with no group differences found for any outcome measure. Older adults demonstrated an approximately 0.06 m/s faster gait velocity and modified balance strategies during walking and standing conditions following the intervention protocol. Participants further self-reported similar enjoyment, difficulty, and exercise effectiveness. Results of this study demonstrated the potential to safely deliver home-based interventions as well as the feasibility and effectiveness of delivering balance intervention through a smartphone-based application.

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