Erica Dove, BHSc (Hons), MSc (candidate)
Graduate (MSc) Student, KITE/Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Supervisor: Dr. Arlene Astell
Exercise can improve balance, movement confidence, and cognitive function among people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, engaging and accessible ways to exercise are lacking. “Exergames”, or games you play by moving, can overcome this hurdle and promote exercise in people with dementia or MCI. However, the impacts of exergames for people with dementia or MCI are underexplored. My work evaluates the effect of exergame interventions on balance, movement confidence and cognitive function in people with dementia or MCI. Twenty-eight people with dementia or MCI took part in a 10-week exergame intervention (Xbox Kinect bowling) at four adult day programs. Before and after the intervention, participants completed a balance test and a cognitive test. They were also video recorded during the start, middle and end of the intervention to observe movement confidence. My research is novel because little is known about how exergames affect this population.
Keywords: Dementia, technology, exergames, co-design
What excites you most about your research?
The thing that excites me most about my research is it is constantly evolving. As technologies evolve, new and emerging ways to support people with dementia or MCI and their caretakers continue to increase with time. I am also excited by the fact that my area of research is broad and multidisciplinary. This means that I get to work with and learn from people from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including occupational therapists, engineers and psychologists.
What are your career aspirations or plans for after you complete your training at UHN?
Within the next 5 to 10 years (ie, after finishing my PhD, which I will start in September 2020), I plan to complete a postdoctoral fellowship and become an independent researcher in academia, with a primary research focus on the use of technology to support people with dementia or MCI. Ideally, I would love to work as a Professor and/or Scientist at an institution that shares and supports my values, interests and goals, such as at the University of Toronto or at Toronto Rehab. These environments are highly multidisciplinary—a characteristic that is key to establishing a diverse and effective research program.
- 2020–2023: Alzheimer’s Society Research Program – Doctoral Award ($66,000), Alzheimer’s Society of Canada
- 2019–2020: Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Award in Technology and Aging ($10,000), AGE-WELL NCE
- 2019: Conference Award ($300), Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto
Dove, E., & Astell, A. (2019). Kinect Project: People with dementia or mild cognitive impairment learning to play group motion-based games. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, 5(2019), 475-482. doi:10.1016/j.trci.2019.07.008
Astell, A., McGrath, C., & Dove, E. (2019). That’s for old so and so’s!: The role of identity in older adults’ technology adoption decisions. Ageing & Society, 1-27. doi:10.1017/S0144686X19000230
Dove, E., & Astell, A. (2017). The use of motion-based technology for people living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment: A literature review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(1), e3. doi:10.2196/jmir.6518