Rediscovering Egypt: Jim’s Journey Through Time with VR at Baptcare Karana

Jim in VR 2

In late 2023, SilVR Adventures was introduced to Baptcare’s Karana community in Victoria by Lifestyle Manager, Ann-Marie. The foundation of Baptcare dates back to 1945, when a group of Baptist women raised £4,000 during wartime to establish Australia’s first Baptist home for older people, known as Strathalan aged care residence. This humble beginning has blossomed into a thriving community that endures to this day.

Rooted in the missional spirit of Baptist communities, Baptcare has evolved into an organisation known for innovation, and this is evident by embracing technologies such as social robots, wearable tech, and virtual reality. We had the opportunity to speak with Faith from Karana’s Lifestyle team, who shared an extraordinary story about Jim, a well-traveled resident introduced to the VR program with remarkable results.

Through the immersive experience of SilVR Adventures VR, Faith transported Jim back to his cherished memories of living in Egypt. Jim’s journey through the sights and sounds of Egypt in virtual reality not only evoked poignant stories but also vividly recalled unforgettable memories. This transformative experience highlights the power of virtual reality in enriching the lives of aged care residents, offering them a gateway to their past adventures and cherished moments.

 “We had the best time with Jim using VR. He absolutely loved the Egypt tour and everywhere that we went on that trip. I pulled up a map of Egypt on my laptop and recorded the conversation. It was great to hear this story from him.”

Egypt Map

“In 1987, I worked with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation as a soil conservation consultant in Egypt. My wife, Mary & I were based as a couple in Mersa Matruh for 12 months. It was about 4-5 hours to get from Cairo to Alexandria, and then another 2 hours from there to where we were based.

Mary got to know a woman in Cairo who had major responsibility for making sure that visitors to the country (like us) – working on behalf of Egypt and the United Nations – were given some educational trips.

I had to restrict my trips a bit because of the work I was doing in the desert in Siwa Oasis, but Mary was able to do a lot more! She really got stuck into taking these trips and going right down south to Dakhla Oasis, and she saw the Valley of the Kings and so many pyramids. She spent time on 2-3 trips and was a walking, talking expert by the time we left Egypt.

The towns all along the Nile are fascinating in themselves, such as Aswan. The Nile is almost gospel to the Egyptian people, it’s everything. It’s where they get their water from, and without water they get no growth at all. There’s very little rainfall. We spent time along the Nile with my work for the United Nations, as it was crucial for fertile soil and agriculture.

While we were living there, we traveled from Port Alexandria – one of the oldest operational ports in the world – to Italy. We had to go across the Mediterranean Sea, on which there’d been strong winds, for weeks on end. The sea was so rough, and Mary & I were in a pokey cabin with not much spare room for anything. All I wanted to do was get down as low as I could to avoid being sick. I’m fine with the motion from trucks and cars, but I was violently ill with sea sickness this time.

In normal weather it’s a marvelous trip, but you do need to try and plan it with plenty of time. The distance is so great, it takes time even though it doesn’t look far on the map.”

Ann-Marie, Faith and Robert from Baptcare Karana’s Lifestyle team experience SilVR Adventures’ VR together for the first time

Baptcare Karana showcased their dedication to innovation by embracing cutting-edge technologies, including social robots, wearable tech, and virtual reality, during a recent information evening for residents and family members, and we are thrilled to support these efforts.

With a recent report by The University of Sydney highlighting how Australian beekeepers outspend aged care providers on innovation, this spend is critical for improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of care services and underpins human flourishing, improved wellbeing and better health outcomes in addition to higher economic growth.

A significant shortfall in R&D funding leads to a lack of innovative services, programs, and technologies tailored to older adults’ needs, resulting in outdated practices and limited access to cutting-edge interventions.

Failure to allocate adequate resources to R&D jeopardises the sector’s ability to adapt to demographic shifts, evolving health conditions, and societal demands. It risks stagnation, diminished care quality, missed improvement opportunities, and an inability to meet the diverse needs of aging populations. Prioritising R&D funding is essential for driving progress, enhancing services, and ensuring optimal care and support for older adults.

Baptcare Innovation Night

VR was one of a number of innovative initiatives showcased to residents and family members at Baptcare Karana’s recent information evening

Russia Trip

VR offers an opportunity to engage residents in shared experiences with family

 “Just a quick thanks to you guys for the awesome VR experience I shared with mum yesterday. Seated over the gardens in St. Petersburg looking in at the churches and castles is an experience so never expected without producing a passport! Finishing up with watching brown bears catch their lunch in the stream had me tapping my toes in the ‘virtual’ stream. What a wonderful experience for our parents in their less mobile years.”

At SilVR Adventures, we are committed to continuously enhancing our VR solution to ensure it is meaningful and inclusive for all users. One way we achieve this is by offering a diverse range of content in multiple languages, catering to the diverse needs of aged care residents. Additionally, our innovative feature allows content to be shared in real-time onto a TV screen, enabling non-headset wearing residents to actively participate in VR sessions and enjoy the engagement and connections fostered with fellow residents. This inclusive approach ensures that everyone can benefit from the immersive experiences and social interactions facilitated by SilVR Adventures, promoting a sense of belonging and well-being among all aged care community members.

Indeed Faith concludes her own feedback, “Since we’ve started using the projector, we get upwards of 20+ people in the VR activity, and it’s been amazing for people who don’t want to wear the headset themselves to still join in, be part of the group and share stories.”

Example of a recent session where VR was enjoyed by residents with and without headsets

Hi there.

Want to get in touch?

Drop us a line