An interactive home-based cognitive-motor step training program to reduce fall risk in older adults: qualitative descriptive study of older adults’ experiences and requirements

Valenzuela, Trinidad, Razee, Husna, Schoene, Daniel, Lord, Stephen Ronald, and Delbaere, Kim (2018) An interactive home-based cognitive-motor step training program to reduce fall risk in older adults: qualitative descriptive study of older adults’ experiences and requirements. JMIR Aging, 1 (2). e11975.

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Background: Falls are a major contributor to the burden of disease in older adults. Home-based exercise programs are effective in reducing the rate and risk of falls in older adults. However, adherence to home-based exercise programs is low, limiting the efficacy of interventions. The implementation of technology-based exercise programs for older adults to use at home may increase exercise adherence and, thus, the effectiveness of fall prevention interventions. More information about older adults’ experiences when using technologies at home is needed to enable the design of programs that are tailored to older adults’ needs.

Objective: This study aimed to (1) explore older adults’ experiences using SureStep, an interactive cognitive-motor step training program to reduce fall risk unsupervised at home; (2) explore program features that older adults found encouraged program uptake and adherence; (3) identify usability issues encountered by older adults when using the program; and (4) provide guidance for the design of a future technology-based exercise program tailored to older adults to use at home as a fall prevention strategy.

Methods: This study was part of a larger randomized controlled trial. The qualitative portion of the study and the focus of this paper used a qualitative descriptive design. Data collectors conducted structured, open-ended in-person interviews with study participants who were randomly allocated to use SureStep at home for 4 months. All interviews were audiotaped and ranged from 45 to 60 min. Thematic analysis was used to analyze collected data. This study was guided by Pender’s Health Promotion Model.

Results: Overall, 24 older adults aged 70 to 97 years were interviewed. Findings suggest older adults are open to use technology-based exercise programs at home, and in the context of optimizing adherence to home-based exercise programs for the prevention of falls, findings suggest that program developers should develop exercise programs in ways that provide older adults with a fun and enjoyable experience (thus increasing intrinsic motivation to exercise), focus on improving outcomes that are significant to older adults (thus increasing self-determined extrinsic motivation), offer challenging yet attainable exercises (thus increasing perceived self-competence), provide positive feedback on performance (thus increasing self-efficacy), and are easy to use (thus reducing perceived barriers to technology use).

Conclusions: This study provides important considerations when designing technology-based programs so they are tailored to the needs of older adults, increasing both usability and acceptability of programs and potentially enhancing exercise participation and long-term adherence to fall prevention interventions. Program uptake and adherence seem to be influenced by (1) older adults’ perceived benefits of undertaking the program, (2) whether the program is stimulating, and (3) the perceived barriers to exercise and technology use. Older adults shared important recommendations for future development of technologies for older adults to use at home.

Item ID: 72810
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2561-7605
Keywords: aged; community-dwelling; exercise; home-based training; adherence; motivation; exergame; active video games; falls; qualitative research
Copyright Information: © Trinidad Valenzuela, Husna Razee, Daniel Schoene, Stephen Ronald Lord, Kim Delbaere. Originally published in JMIR Aging (, 30.11.2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Aging, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Date Deposited: 23 May 2022 03:22
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200502 Health related to ageing @ 100%
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