A Home-Based Exercise Program Driven by Tablet Application and Mobility Monitoring for Frail Older Adults: Feasibility and Practical Implications

Hilde A.E. Geraedts Wiebren Zijlstra Wei Zhang Sophie Spoorenberg Marcos Baez Iman Khaghani Far Heribert Baldus Martin Stevens

Introduction. Stimulation of a physically active lifestyle among older adults is essential to health and well-being. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and user opinion of a home-based exercise program supported by a sensor and tablet application for frail older adults.

Methods. Community-dwelling older adults (aged ≥70 y) living in The Netherlands were recruited in 2014. Participants exercised 3 months with and 3 months without supervision from a remote coach. Feasibility was operationalized as adherence to exercise (percentage of 5 exercise bouts per week completed) and to wearing the sensor (with 70% defined as sufficient adherence) and the number of problems reported. User opinion was measured with a questionnaire addressing ease of use of the technology and opinion on the program.

Results. Twenty-one of 40 enrolled participants completed the trial. Adherence overall was 60.9% (average of 3 bouts per week). Adherence among completers (69.2%) was significantly higher than adherence among dropouts (49.9%). Adherence was sufficient among completers during the 3 months of supervision (75.8%). Adherence to wearing the sensor was 66.7% and was significantly higher among completers than among dropouts (75.7% vs 54.2%). The rate of incidents was significantly lower among completers than among dropouts (0.4 vs 1.2 incidents per participant per week). Connectivity-related incidents were prominent. On a scale of 1 to 5, completers gave ratings of 4.3 (after 3 months) and 4.2 (after 6 months).

Conclusion. A home-based exercise program using novel technology seems feasible when participants are given a stable internet connection. This program shows promise for stimulating physical activity among older frail adults, especially if it offers regular coaching.