Older people living in regional areas face more barriers to accessing aged care services than in Major cities, but VR is proving a success with a number of regional care providers recently.
Eloura Aged Care Facility in Quirindi, NSW has introduced Virtual Reality headsets into their Lifestyle and Wellbeing Program with surprising and heart-warming results. Virtual Reality has wowed residents with interactive and personalised technology that allows residents to get up-close-and-personal with unique locations, animals and scenery. Those participating have found the technology exciting and engaging and wonderful conversation flows afterward where participants compare their experiences.
“One of the most awe-inspiring experiences for a resident was seeing an elephant walking straight up to him, while other residents have absolutely loved experiencing virtual travel.”
“Many of these experiences are just not possible in-person anymore, or a resident may want to visit a place that ignites memories of when they were younger,” Fleur Hamilton, Lifestyle Officer at Eloura Aged Care Facility said.
Virtual Reality allows Eloura residents to experience overseas travel, swimming with dolphins, a trip in a hot air balloon and many other once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are available now with this technology.
This technology venture was integrated and rolled out seamlessly by the lifestyle team at Eloura Aged Care Facility after being approved by the Quirindi Care Services board as part of the ongoing expansion of the program to create a more engaging, stimulating and enjoyable experience for residents.
“We are truly thrilled to have come across this program. Providing our residents with rich and fulfilling experiences such as this contributes to their overall wellbeing and has brought them so much joy, sparking conversation and reigniting memories and passions long forgotten,” Kim Riley, General Manager of Quirindi Care Services said.
The new Virtual Reality program at Eloura Aged Care Facility is a part of the Lifestyle and Wellbeing Team’s initiative to help maintain their elderly residents’ physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.
Studies have shown that group Virtual Reality experiences can improve social wellbeing in older adults, with participants feeling more relaxed and outgoing with less likelihood of feeling socially isolated.
Specific uses for Virtual Reality with older people also include ‘Reminiscence Therapy’ which supports Alzheimer’s and dementia patients by helping them to revisit cherished memories through the use of photographs, video and music and this has also been successfully initiated by another regional care provider, Garden Village Port Macquarie, where residents recently enjoyed visting the wild animals of Africa with SilVR Adventures.
From Victoria Falls to Mount Kilimanjaro and the desert plains they saw penguins, lions and elephants and positive feedback was abundant;
“My word what an adventure”
“It was amazing”
“It was very nice, I saw things I’ve never seen before”
“The elephant was massive and came straight toward me”
Huge thank you to the dedicated team at the Australian Red Cross for making this one happen and delivering yet another great VR experience!