In your twilight years, you may have thought that your adventuring days are over. With the latest technologies, these days we can have new, exciting experiences without ever leaving the comforts of home. But how? What magic technology can let you say, go skydiving in your living room?
It’s not a science fiction story anymore, but a legitimate therapy for older individuals and people with disabilities. VR is a fast growing technological solution for aging adults to stimulate their brains and have fun while doing it!
Problems With Physical Experiences
For older adults in skilled care facilities, new experiences can not only provide much-needed stimulation but also improve Quality of Life. While many facilities work hard to give their residents the best care, there can be some problems with providing new physical experiences.
- Older adults can have limited mobility, making walking tours difficult.
- Medical needs may preclude being away from home for longer than a few hours.
- The cost of arranging outings can add up fast.
- Facilities can be limited in the accommodations they are able to offer for those with mobility issues.
- Dietary concerns may limit options for trips as well.
Though care facilities do their best to care for the whole individual and provide fun activities, there’s no denying that these factors make physical trips difficult.
How Can VR Help?
Virtual reality can give older individuals the ability to see and do things they’d never be able to do in physical space. The whole point of VR is to recreate sensory input like visuals and audio and coordinate that sensory data to recreate an experience. Visuals are 360 degrees, the sound is in lifelike stereo, and motion capture technology lets you move around. Most VR sets include a headset that lets a person see in 360 degrees, headphones to deliver sound, and motion sensors to allow full interactivity. With the latest VR technology, someone can easily have a new, exciting experience in virtual reality without worrying about mobility issues that can affect them in the physical world.
What sort of things could an older person do in VR that they couldn’t do in physical space?
- Go up in a hot air balloon
- Skydiving, parasailing, or other air sports
- Experience our national parks or other monuments
- Travel to distant places
- Explore historic places
- Have fantasy adventures
- Make virtual art
- Do guided meditations
- Play a series of low-impact sports
- Go to a concert or experience a play filmed in 3D
- Take a virtual vacation and just relax on a beach
- Simulated racing or boating
- much more…
With these VR experiences, older adults can do things they’ve always wanted to do, even if they may have thought that their bucket lists would be neglected, or thought seeing new things or going to strange places was a thing of the past. VR can be especially helpful to elderly patients because it gives them new experiences.
Benefits of Novel Experiences
Virtual Reality can offer many benefits for older individuals, improving Quality of Life and offering unique ways to relax and have fun. Having low impact exercise like walking in place or reaching for objects can be physically beneficial, and getting the brain stimulation of interactive video and high-quality audio can improve cognitive functioning and impact memory.
Many medical studies have shown that virtual reality can be beneficial for health issues such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. VR can even help older people feel a sense of closure when they finally are able to do things they’ve always wanted to do or visit a place they never got to visit. With Virtu-Well, you can finally get to that bucket list without having to leave the recreation room!