Investigating the Value of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Nintendo Wii Physical Activity for Older Adults
There has been much debate on best practices for limiting negative outcomes associated with relocation, sedentary lifestyle, and social isolation after older adults relocate to a residential care facility. This thesis is an exploration of the novel intervention combining Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Nintendo Wii gameplay that was designed to improve initiation and adherence to physical activity. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an empirically based psychological intervention that utilizes mindfulness and acceptance techniques along with values-based action to improve one’s perception of life worth. The primary aim for this thesis was to understand more about the experiences that older adults residing in a residential care facility have with this intervention. Four participants were observed during the intervention and interviewed after the intervention. Multiple forms of analyses were performed such as, inductive interview content analysis, inductive and deductive analysis of observational field notes, deductive analysis of interviews, and deductive analysis of inductive findings. Results revealed that Nintendo Wii gameplay provides a convenient outlet for physical activity where older adults can participate in activities they once enjoyed and individuals with minimal functionality have the capacity to successfully and safely play the Nintendo Wii. Further, older adults prefer to participate in physical activities that are fun and do not feel like exercise; and, participate in small groups rather than large groups. After the intervention only one participant perceived that participation lead to physical health improvements, however, all participants perceived that the intervention increased mental health and social functioning levels. Additionally, all participants understood and were in agreement with the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which increased initiation and adherence to physical activity. The intervention featured in this study could be useful for these purposes with similar participants in residential care facilities, although additional research is necessary to corroborate the findings of this study and to continue developing new knowledge in this area.