SilVR Champions: Australian Red Cross Kat Butterworth and Jamie McIntyre

Australian Red Cross (left to right Paula, Paula and Kat)

SilVR Champions: Australian Red Cross Kat Butterworth and Jamie McIntyre


SilVR Adventures couldn’t be any prouder to be in partnership with the Australian Red Cross to deliver virtual reality experiences to numerous aged care homes across the country and it’s such a pleasure to work with their passionate team, we wanted to recognise the wonderful work of Kat Butterworth and Jamie McIntyre as bona fide SilVR Champions! 

As leaders in The Australian Red Cross Community Visitors Scheme (CVS), they have been providing companionship to the community of older adults using a more innovative experience with the help of our technology.

Several residential aged care homes have already had the opportunity to experience our virtual reality tours around the world. Residents from Catholic Healthcare St.John’s Villa witnessed the spectacular views of the Grand Canyon while Uniting Hamilton aged care residents gathered at the Mount Everest Base Camp.

Many other virtual tours facilitated by the Red Cross volunteers included scenic views like the Taj Mahal and the Sistine Chapel.

Kat says exciting things were coming for the program; “It’s very new for the Red Cross, and we are excited by the possibilities … we want to partner with more aged care facilities to broaden our reach to more residents. Ongoing, we will have up to five residents take a tour together at one time and offer two session sittings, so 10 residents can take part throughout our visit. Ideally, with the help of more volunteers, we can offer this as an ongoing monthly program and bring a world of adventure to the residents.”

Our wide variety of guided tours of travel destinations can be found in our Adventures Library. These tailored experiences help bring back cherished old memories which can be beneficial in improving cognitive thinking for those suffering with dementia.

Once the VR tours were over and the headsets removed, engaging conversations about their adventures took place and the residents could bond over their shared experiences. Red Cross stated that residents who felt socially isolated could improve their mental health with these enriched interactions and meaningful engagements.

Kat has experienced this first-hand; “For those residents who are lacking connection, we want to provide a purposeful and meaningful activity where a shared experience will enhance memories and open up communication.”


Australian Red Cross Jamie McIntyre

For more information on how social connections can affect the health and well-being of older adults visit the Aged Care Enrichment’s podcast episode with Dr. Snorri Bjorn Rafnsson who has researched the determinants of dementia and how to stop its onset. The second half of this episode features Jamie speaking about how he coordinates around 50 volunteers in NSW who provide support to socially isolated older adults.

The programme has proved to be a success and we hope more volunteers would be a part of enriching the lives of older adults in residential aged care communities. To be a part of this meaningful experience and make a difference, visit the Red Cross Volunteer Opportunities page.

Be sure to check out our news feature on NBN News and ABC Radio and keep up to date with more of our virtual adventures. Who knows, with the help of the Australian Red Cross, we might be paying a visit to your local residential aged care centre real soon!


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