'Wii-Hab' Just What Doctor Ordered for Therapy

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Most people don't normally put video games and senior citizens together in the same sentence.  However, at one Florida hospital, video gaming has proven to be a perfect fit for improving seniors' health.

Elderly patients at the Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are using Nintendo Wii video games - known as "Wii-hab" - as part of their physical therapy.

"I love it," said Marne O'Loughlin, a patient who played Wii soccer. "As bad as I am, I love it."  

Percy Shover, on the other hand, prefers Wii boxing.

"I never was a fighter, I was a lover," the 94-year-old joked.

The games are especially helpful for patients recovering from strokes, shoulder injuries or accidents.

"It helps with both occupational therapy and physical therapy goals," therapist Tamyr Fields explained. "We can work on strength, range of motion, endurance, coordination and motor planning."

Kevin Hall, who just had surgery on his left shoulder, says the Wii takes some of the pain out of traditional therapy.

"It makes it a little different," he said. "You get tired of doing the exact same things every day. It's entertaining. It's nice to have something else to do. I've been pulling on rubber bands."

Meanwhile, doctors say Wii-hab is catching on.  Rehabilitation hospitals all over the country have been purchasing the video game system in order to make it a part of their physical therapy routines.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.