Wii...What a Success!

Leah Health Guide
  • I knew I needed to get more exercise, but I got a real wake up call when my Wii Fitness called me “Unbalanced” and a “Couch Potato” over and over again…  Whoa…I don’t need an electronic game to call me names—or do I?  Is this the psychological impetus behind the success of this game?  Competition either against one’s self or other opponents?  I suppose that works for the competitive types, which I am one.  As far as Wii Sports and Wii Fitness are concerned, the Nintendo company has a big success!

     

    The Wii was bought to challenge me physically and to encourage exercise.  My husband and I have just finished really getting into it, and I have learned how to turn it on by myself without anyone’s help.  Today, I spent my first half hour “working out” by myself with my Wii.  I was sweating about midway through.  Today was the first time I have run—actually RUNNNNN—in years and, though it felt awkward and tired me out, I am so glad I did it.  I need to run every day!  I will get better.  It will begin to feel less awkward.  One good thing, the Wii knows when you have missed a day—I had missed four, and it immediately told me so and reminded me how important it was to work out each day.   I love that!  There’s accountability.  It also keeps count of the minutes you work out.  Another form of accountability.  This intrigues me as I believe I will press myself to do more and more.

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    My husband and I have been playing Wii Sports in the evenings, mainly bowling and tennis.  I haven’t found golf to be very interesting.  I’m doing well in bowling and even win sometimes.  One of my last games was in the 230’s! 

     

    The Wii Fitness assesses your weight and allows you to create goals of weight loss for each two weeks.  It also tracks your progress.  I am really excited about this game! 

     

    As for how well it might be for others with some form of dementia or for their caregivers—or both at the same time—I see the Wii as an invaluable asset.  I’d love to see it in Senior Centers and other institutions!  I could imagine bowling tournaments…or Wii workout times.  There are limitless possibilities here!

     

    It was not difficult to hook up.  I say that though I myself did not hook it up; my husband did.  Working with the controls is easy.  The most difficult thing I’ve found so far—and I haven’t tested all the Wii Fitness activities—is the stepping routine where you have to step to the time of the music.  They do give you great visuals to follow, but one must step on and off the balance board.  Anyone like me with some impairment in my balance must be very careful not to trip and fall.  There should be a “spotter” nearby to help you.  Other aerobic and strength exercises may also need someone or something nearby for support.  However, perhaps these activities should not be started before some initial work on one’s balance is done.  There are wonderful activities to work on balance with graphics which help you see how you are doing.  That allows you to begin to FEEL how your balance and poster should be.  I LOVE this part!

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    As I get further into working with the Wii, I’ll be getting back to you.  I do have a loyal reader and friend who has the fishing game for the Wii.  She bought it for her double amputee husband who has Alzheimers.  Unfortunately, he has been too ill to use it, but her 20 month old grandson has had a blast with it. I understand she hooked the Wii console up herself…and she doesn’t claim to be an electronic genius.

     

    Just as an aside,  I’m in my second week of antibiotics and there has been a little improvement in my MRSA sores.  I am being more regular with my medication regiment.  Last time I went to my internist, we figured out that it would be best to put the Humalog I need with each meal on the table so I can remember to inject it.  So, I have a brocade eyeglass case which sits up vertically and is fur-lined (I know you didn’t need all those details, but I wanted you to know how fancy it is as it sits on the table!) holding my Humalog pen and needles.  As long as we eat at the table, I always remember to use the Humalog at mealtimes.  And I never forget my nightly Lantus.  So medication-wise, my diabetes is receiving all the attention prescribed.  Little things can make all the difference in the world when it comes to improving one’s ability to remember.  All it takes is some trial and error…

     

    My sincerest hope is that you, my reader, can get help or gain a little more knowledge or understanding of what my world of dementia is like through the reading of this blog.  I, too, hope that the new year of 2009 finds you at peace.

Published On: January 06, 2009