Now virtual reality is not just for gamers. The technology that allows users to battle monsters in virtual worlds has proven useful for everything. Now, VR headsets are goes in an elder’s life which provides memory care facilities to elders in the United States and abroad. It gives a chance to experience the sights and sounds of different places, joyful moments from their past and explore the experience that are physically inaccessible in real life due to age or poor health.
VR can be useful as a high-tech version of Reminiscence therapy, in which people with memory damages are encouraged to look at old photos, listen to music or examine once-familiar objects as a way to involve their minds to boost their mood.
A recent study involving a VR platform developed by Dallas-based Startup MyndVR showed that seniors are not only enjoyed using VR but also some appeared calmer and more alert afterward. MyndVR is among a few of the companies which are now developing VR for seniors, including London-based startup Virtue Health.
Once, director of medical Virtual reality program, Albert Rizzo says at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies and an adviser to MyndVR, that while it is hard to precisely measure its benefits for seniors and dementia patients, “VR has the capability of creating emotionally evocative experiences. Your worst nightmare is that when you get older and you are going to end up in a home and see the same four walls all the time.”
The MyndVR says that now it is used in 30 states for senior facilities. It allows users to try a range of experiences, from touring cities around the world to watching various cultures. Users can also go back to their youth and experience their life at that age. The company charges around $350 to $2000 a month for the service from senior centers, depending on the specific services.
The Wayback, a London-based startup is focusing on VR for dementia patients. It will release its third history-inspired VR movie, which has scenes tied to iconic historical events. Now users will able to watch a live broadcast of the event from a cozy 1960s-style living room with their whole family. It also offers personalized virtual reality journeys that can take users to their childhood haunts by tapping into content available for services like Google Street View. The journeys are always based on suggestions from friends and family members, or from users.
The company targets to create an online portal, in which friends and family can use to create virtual tours for dementia patients. If VR proves beneficial to seniors as these companies are expecting to be, then it could be seen as a key part of life in senior centers.