Why We’re Bullish On Virtual Reality In Senior Homes
At Continyou Care, we’re always interested in the possibilities when it comes to integrating cutting edge innovation and technology with senior homes. In this article, we’re looking at virtual reality, how it is currently benefitting seniors, and how it can change senior living in the future!
The possibilities with Virtual Reality are endless. As seniors get older, traveling gets more and more difficult; VR can allow them to visit countries from all over the globe while staying put in the comfort of their home. Cnet reports “VR Vacations” help combat social isolation and loneliness in seniors while allowing them the freedom and flexibility to travel or experience from their own home.
VR and Keeping Seniors Brains Active
A more recent application of virtual reality by seniors is to play games. It’s an exciting change from your standard board games on a Tuesday evening, and it helps stimulate senior’s brains. It also opens up a world of possibilities in how, what, why, when, and with who these games are played. The options are endless!
Combating Loneliness and Boredom
Let’s be honest, virtual reality is fun! The possibilities of simulating a scenario or a world to explore are fascinating. We’re already able to program virtual reality systems to take seniors back to specific parts of their lives – which may help spark memories and positive emotions. An example of this can be seen being applied by Kenta Toshima, who works at the University of Tokyo. Kenta Toshima travels around nursing homes in Japan, allowing seniors to “visit travel sites from their memories, or take a trip to somewhere they’d never otherwise get to go.”
COVID-19 and Social Isolation
We don’t know how quickly the world will go back to normal as we’re still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, but what we do know, is that we need to keep seniors, who are particularly vulnerable, safe. A necessary but unfortunate consequence of that has been social isolation for many seniors, as seeing friends or family has become a risk due to the spread of the virus. According to Forbes, studies have found “that isolation and loneliness are worse for health than obesity or smoking, especially if you are over 50 – the risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
However, the same article by Forbes also discusses how AARP Innovation Labs have built a new VR app called Alcove. This app focuses on family and social connection. During these hard times, virtual reality may well be a way of remedying the intense social isolation many seniors are feeling!
At Continyou Care, we’re excited to see how virtual reality can be integrated and implemented by senior homes to improve resident’s lives. If you are interested in virtual reality or have some great ideas about how virtual reality can be used to improve senior’s lives, we would love to hear your thoughts!