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Game programming for development of logical reasoning and prevention of cognitive decline in the elderly


Until 2050, it is predictable that Brazil will be one of the countries with highest absolute number of elderly in the world. Then, it is done everything necessary to the action's development to prevent adverse conditions, which usually go along with aging mostly related to cognitive decline. Studies have been showing that games can be great friends for elderly to keep physically active and cognitive. However, literature still suffers lacks of evidences that shows the real effect of game development (logical reasoning, creativity) on cognitive condition of elderly. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to promote the cognitive function of elderly through the teaching of game programming in an innovative methodology (game creation, planning, teamwork, performance, analysis of errors and correction). The secondary goal is promoting socialization between elderly through the dynamics of regular classes. This intervention study is going to last nine months. The information collect will to be executed in three moments: 1) pre-intervention (one week before the intervention beginning); 2) on 3rd (third) month of intervention, 3) after the intervention (immediately on the week the intervention finishes). All seniors who attend to the criteria of inclusion verified through the initial selection will answer to some questions - about personal information, lifestyle and health information. The life quality related to health is going to be investigated by the questionnaire Short-form-8®; the health condition of elderly is going to be evaluated through the fragility index Kihon Checklist (KCL PT-BR); and the cognitive function is going to be evaluated through the "Mini-Exame do Estado Mental (MEEM)"; Trail Making Test (TMT) A and B; and the Scenery Picture Memory Test (SPMT). To assess motor parameters, we will use the "Motor Scale for the Elderly - EMTI. The intervention will occur on a period of five consecutive months; the classes will be offered once a week lasting 110 minutes. The structure of each class consists on "Stage I: preparation", participants will do 10 minutes of body heating exercises. "Stage II: the class itself" 70 minutes, the researcher and his team will show a step of the game, the participants will play and then they will be instructed to develop step by step the stage of the game. "Stage III: closing", 10 minutes of stretching exercises. "Stage IV: evaluation" 20 minutes (the participants will give a feedback of the class for the researcher). The hypothesis of the research is that game development can increase the cognitive function of elderly. The use of tools such as mouse, keyboard and others, can improve fine motor skills in elderly people. Nevertheless, through the elderly socialization, is hoped to make life quality better. The main challenges in this study refers how to structure the game levels to be develop and the connection between the participants on the intervention program. The study's results, which treat technology knowledge and health area, will create evidences about improvement introduced by elderly during the game development, mainly related to health aspects and life quality; and it would be a basis of an innovation prevent programing development, or even a delay or an improvement of social and cognitive decline. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about research grant:
Game application monitors health of older people in social isolation owing to COVID-19 pandemic 
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