Technology and healthcare: an Israeli team finds out the benefits of virtual reality to prevent falls in the elderly

411f4a1e3ea6ad6d1a16e415a1e3e322For the elderly, a fall can alter – or threaten – life permanently. Thirty percent of older adults living in a typical community, and as many as 60%-80% of older adults with mild cognitive impairment, dementia or Parkinson’s disease, fall at least once a year. In the US alone, over 700,000 people 65 and older are hospitalized and suffer traumas because of a fall. According to OECD statistics, falls in adults aged 65 and over account for about 2% of all healthcare expenditures in high-income countries.

Even without injuries, falls often lead to fear, with seniors avoiding leaving the house and becoming shut-ins, which in turn often leads to inactivity, muscle weakness, depression, impaired balance and gait, more falls and more social isolation, according to numerous studies.

A team of researchers in Israel, led by dr. Anat Mirelman, claims to have found the solution to this problem, thanks to virtual reality. Continue reading