Virtual Reality and Aged Care

The uses and benefits of VR in the care of older adults

Virtual reality (VR) has emerged as an effective and versatile tool in the care of seniors, with many studies showing positive physical, psychological and emotional outcomes resulting from VR therapies.

Tackling isolation and loneliness

Studies suggest that seniors are more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation than any other age group. Living in a residential aged care facility can contribute to these feelings. [1]

The documented impact of isolation and loneliness on physical and mental health is overwhelming:

  • Social isolation can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having an alcohol use disorder [2]
  • Social isolation has been associated with a 60–70% increase in mortality [3]
  • Poor social relationships has been associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke [4]
  • Across any given day, aged care residents spent the greatest proportion of time (45%) in their own room and were alone 47.9% of the time [5]

VR’s role in fighting isolation

VR has the power to reduce feelings of social isolation among seniors by bringing people together by removing physical and geographical restrictions.

What the research says

Group VR experiences have been shown to improve social wellbeing in older adults, with participants feeling more relaxed and outgoing, more likely to feel positive emotions and less likely to feel socially isolated. [5] 

VR can provide older adults with the confidence to get involved in social activities by removing physical and mental barriers to participation [6]

The SilVR Adventures solution

We offer group virtual reality tours and activities that bring seniors together through the power of shared experiences. 

Group experiences include: 

  • guided tours of the most iconic and beautiful locations on Earth
  • socialising with friends in our virtual cafe
  • watching a classic movie or legendary entertainer in our virtual theatre.

In a recent customer satisfaction survey,
85% of aged care facilities said that our solution helped to significantly drive social engagement.

Supporting and stimulating memory

Looking back on cherished memories is a positive and rewarding experience for many seniors. Remembering people, places and experiences from the past is not only pleasurable, but it may also strengthen cognition and the ability to recall memories.

Known as reminiscence therapy, remembering things from the past can be especially beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. 

Presenting photos, music or asking questions about an earlier time provides an opportunity to talk about meaningful moments, build confidence, and strengthen connections to family and community.

Virtual reality as a tool for reminiscence therapy

VR can be a highly effective way of delivering immersive, enjoyable and comfortable reminiscence therapy. Studies show that the highly immersive nature of VR could be more effective than traditional methods in stimulating and boosting the mood of seniors with memory impairment. 

VR has the power to engage seniors in a way that is more vibrant and real, making them a part of the moment once again, rather than an observer of it.

What the research says

VR was acceptable and highly satisfying for residents with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Residents and family members alike found VR safe, extremely enjoyable, and easy to use. [12]

VR technology could vastly improve the quality of life for people with dementia by helping to recall past memories, reduce aggression and improve interactions with caregivers. [7]

VR can positively affected the cognitive and physical functioning of those with mild cognitive impairment or dementia [8]

The SilVR Adventures solution

Our immersive and accessible solution can be used as a powerful part of any memory care program.

Experiences include:

  • engage with photos, videos and music of personal significance in an immersive virtual environment
  • revisit special locations such as a childhood home or wedding venue 
  • relive historic and culturally significant moments from the 20th century with our Golden Years series of virtual tours.

Improving mental and emotional wellbeing

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a decline in overall wellbeing as we age. Anxiety and depression in particular can be issues among older adults, but they are not a normal part of the ageing process. 

Without treatment, anxiety and related conditions can lead to cognitive impairment, poor physical health, and a lower quality of life.

Use of virtual reality to support wellbeing

There is strong evidence to suggest that VR experiences can have a positive impact on the emotional and mental wellbeing of seniors.

What the research says

Older adults who experience new places through VR are more likely to feel positive about their overall wellbeing and show fewer signs of depression. [9] 

VR has been found to be enjoyable to seniors and has potential applications in engaging aged care residents experiencing apathy. [10]

Employing VR has been shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and can increase the acceptability and effectiveness of treatment. [11]

The SilVR Adventures solution

Our range of VR content and activities lets care teams create meaningful experiences that are matched to residents’ personalities. 

SilVR Adventures virtual tours transport groups of seniors to stunning locations to see and do things they never thought possible. From exploring the Natural Wonders of The World, to swimming with dolphins, we provide meaningful and memorable experiences that spark joy.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about how SilVR Adventures on could benefit seniors and care teams at your facility, then we would love to talk about a solution to match your needs today.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about how SilVR Adventures on could benefit seniors and care teams at your facility, then we would love to talk about a solution to match your needs today.

Hi there.

Want to get in touch?

Drop us a line