BACKGROUND: Physical exercise benefits functioning, health, and well-being. However, people living with dementia in particular hardly engage in exercise. Exergaming (exercise and gaming) is an innovative, fun, and relatively safe way of exercising in a virtual reality or gaming environment. It may help people living with dementia overcome barriers they can experience regarding regular exercise activities.
OBJECTIVE: This systematic literature review aims to provide an overview of the cost-effectiveness of exergaming and its effects on physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning, as well as the quality of life in people living with dementia.
METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Cinahl, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, and the Web of Science Core Collection were searched. Selection of studies was carried out by at least two independent researchers.
RESULTS: Three studies were found to be eligible and were included in this review. Two of these showed some statistically significant effects of exergaming on physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning in people living with dementia, although based on a very small sample. No articles were found about the cost-effectiveness of exergaming.
CONCLUSIONS: Only a few controlled studies have been conducted into the effectiveness of exergaming, and these show very little significant benefits. More well-designed studies are necessary to examine the effects of exergaming.