Virtual reality (VR), is an interactive, three-dimensional immersive computer experience that’s viewed through goggles. The technology, became a favorite with video-gamers, and is now very popular with older Americans, health care professionals, and caregivers.
Increasingly, adult communities and skilled nursing homes are using VR for enrichment and to help dementia patients trigger positive memories. For example, programs like Google Street View helps dementia patients to revisit their childhood neighborhoods. It’s also assists seniors with macular degeneration to “see”.
In addition, VR can train medical professionals, letting them step into their patient’s shoes to experience how diseases alter their perception of the world.
Virtual Reality: How It Helps
Seniors can now travel the world from the comfort of their arm chair. They can visit museums, historical sites, their childhood homes, and even ski the Alps.
In addition, seniors can go to exotic locations, attend sporting events or concerts, visit meaningful places from the past, or experience family events that they might otherwise miss.
One key area that virtual reality is successful is with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients. It can bring back memories and improve cognitive abilities and quality of life.
Skilled nursing staff, healthcare providers, and physicians also benefit.
For example, It can also take users to someplace deadly serious: the mind of a person with dementia. VR firm Embodied Labs has created a 27-minute experience depicting what life is like for a patient with the debilitating disease. It’s being used by students, medical professionals and caregivers.
In addition, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is working on a similar project that it soon will bring to the public. plans to share with affiliates.
The Embodied Labs experience puts viewers in the mind and body of Beatriz, a middle-aged woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Through the headset, the film reveals Beatriz’s life with dementia, including her internal dialogue. Viewers share her confusion at not recognizing family members, as well as learn how care providers can inadvertently insult patients when they treat them like children.
Here is an instructive video on how caregivers can benefit by understanding the impact of virtual reality on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The saga of Beatriz. Watch.