A significant barrier to improving the health and well-being of older adults is that they often do not adhere to health-promoting programs. The present study examined whether Bingocize®, a game-centered mobile app that can combine bingo with healthy activities such as exercise and/or health topic education, could (1) engender high rates of adherence among sedentary community-dwelling older adults, and (2) potentially improve aspects of physical and cognitive performance.
Materials and Methods
Participants used the app for ∼1 hour, twice per week, for 10 weeks. Each using a tablet, they played the game in small social groups and were randomly assigned to either an Experimental (Bingo + Health Education + Exercise) or Control (Bingo + Health Education) group. Pre- and Postintervention assessments of (1) functional performance, (2) fluid cognition, and (3) knowledge of two health topics (osteoarthritis and fall risks) were administered.
Adherence was high in both groups (>93% attendance), suggesting the app was popular and engaging. Two (Experimental/Control) × Two (Pre/Post) interactions were found for two domains of functional performance (Arm Curls, a measure of upper body strength; and Chair Stands, a measure of lower body strength) and one domain of cognition (updating, a component of executive functioning), such that the Experimental group improved more relative to the Control group. Both groups improved their knowledge of the health topics covered (all P < 0.05).
Our findings suggest that the fun and interactive nature of Bingocize® engenders high levels of adherence to a health-promoting program in a difficult to serve population, serving as a conduit to potentially improve multiple aspects of quality of life for older adults.