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3D Gaming Technology Helping Seniors With Physical Therapy

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Elderly patient does virtual reality physical therapy. (credit: Accelerated Care Plus)

Elderly patient does virtual reality physical therapy. (credit: Accelerated Care Plus)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Nintendo Wii and similar devices have been credited with getting people off the couch and taking an active role in gaming. Similar technology is now helping North Texas seniors make physical therapy progress.

At the Trinity Terrace Retirement Community in Fort Worth, 3D gaming technology is doing big things for the young at heart.

For several months therapists have been taking patients through their paces using the Omni VR, which stands virtual rehabilitation system.

The machine is the world’s first 3D virtual rehab system designed specifically for aging adults.

“The Omni VR can be used with all aspects of diagnosis,” explained Lori Taylor with Consonus Healthcare. “From stroke, patients, to joint replacements, to cognitive deficits.”

Therapy patient Mildred Senne is 89-years-old and had knee replacement surgery last May. “It was very different,” she said of the therapy. “I liked it because it was kind of fun.”

Doctors recommended the Omni VR when after traditional therapy still had balance problems.

Senne has been using the virtual rehab system since November and has achieved great results through concentrated work. “I think I like it best because it does take the whole body and the eyes,” she said.

Taylor says the older patients like using the new, ‘hip’ technology. “Most of the time we’ll hear the patients say, ‘Oh these are things my grandkids enjoy doing,’ and ‘I didn’t know that I could play a video game.'”

The Omni VR is actually changing the way seniors, medical professionals, and families view physical rehabilitation. Fifty-percent of patients who use the system are able to return home, instead of having to spend the rest of their lives in a nursing home or long-term facility.

“Most of our patients are able to tolerate longer sessions and they enjoy their treatment,” said Taylor.

The Omni VR has a variety of adjustable features that allow therapists to tailor a rehabilitation program to a patient’s specific needs.

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