Jul 03, 2024

The power of VR for older adults in care homes

We’re looking at how you can harness VR (virtual reality) activities for older adults in your care home

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In July 2019, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence updated its guidance on how to provide the best quality care for people with dementia, citing the importance of access to activities geared towards overall wellbeing. This is reflective of a wider trend towards prioritising wellbeing in older adults to really maximise their quality of life in care settings, and this has gone hand in hand with the increased use of technology. One such way that technological advances have been able to enhance quality of life in care has been the advent of VR (virtual reality) activities for older adults.  

In this blog, we’ll be discussing what VR is, how it improves overall wellbeing, and how you can make it a ‘reality’ in your care home! 

 

What is VR (virtual reality) in care homes and how does it improve wellbeing? 

In a care home setting, VR for older adults can be a unique and transformative activity to engage in reminiscence therapy. Virtual reality gives older adults the opportunity to revisit places they have been to in the past or it gives them the chance to experience entirely new surroundings – broadening their experiences of the world and giving them a chance to engage in intellectual wellbeing.  

For virtual reality activities that take the individual back to a place or time they have been before, for example to a location from their formative years or perhaps to a foreign country where they enjoyed regular holidays, this can be a powerful tool to engage in their emotional wellbeing because it gives them the chance to re-live cherished memories in a level of detail and vividness that has never been possible before. This type of reminiscence therapy can be very beneficial especially for older adults with dementia, as it can alleviate feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety, and it can help to stimulate memories in the brain, ultimately improving memory retention. 

 

How VR for older adults offers holistic benefits to achieve greater wellbeing 

Using Virtual reality to help older adults re-live cherished memories of places they have visited in the past can offer a sense of connection between them and the people caring for them. In using virtual reality to stimulate memories, care staff can help to foster opportunities where they can have meaningful conversations with people about the memories evoked. 

For example, if an older adult with dementia engages with a VR experience where they wanted to see a city like Rome or a Paris, a care staff member can ask what is so special or significant about that place, and why did the person want to experience a virtual tour of that particular city. They might respond by saying they would holiday there often, or even that they were married in that city. This opens up a whole new avenue of meaningful conversations that not only work to strengthen the bond between care staff and the people they care for, but it also helps the person with dementia to talk through the memories they are experiencing, helping not only to keep those memories vivid in their minds, but to maintain communication skills.  

Whether inside or outside of the UK, VR tours also give older people, with dementia especially, the chance to revisit their childhood home or their hometown. Studies often show that emotional memories are often easier to retrieve, and that people with dementia tend to be more likely to recall, still in detail, significant events from their lives that happened many decades ago while struggling to recall more recent events. Such formative memories often include scenes from their childhood, and giving someone the opportunity to go back to that time or back to that place is a powerful tool to enhance emotional wellbeing.  

 

How can I use VR for older adults in care homes? 

So far, we’ve spoken about what virtual reality is and how it can be especially beneficial in a care setting, and while it all sounds good in theory, you might still be wondering how you can actually organise a VR tour for your residents.  

After all, when you think about virtual reality, you might think that this is something outside of the scope of a care home to arrange, but it’s all available and simple to set up with the help of the Oomph! On-Demand Wellbeing & Activities Platform.  

 

Bring precious memories back to life with our Wellbeing & Activities Platform! 

VR CareOur Wellbeing & Activities Platform, part of Person Centred Software’s Connected Care Platform, hosts a wide-reaching range of content partners that focus on bringing meaningful and engaging activities to older people living in care. One of these content partners is VR Care, a service dedicated specifically for care homes that provides virtual reality technology.  

VR Care’s virtual reality capabilities can both stimulate cherished memories and create whole new ones with its captivating 360-degree immersive experience, meaning residents can explore nature, partake in virtual adventures and explore the world’s great cities, all from the comfort and safety of their own environment.  

And best of all, all of this is already built into the Oomph! On-Demand Platform. All you need to do is log in to the On-Demand Platform and select VR Care from the content partner page. 

Learn more about the power of VR for older adults

To find out more, and to learn more about the benefits of the Wellbeing & Activities Platform along with our other resident experience solutions, why not click the button below to book a consolation and speak with one of our wellbeing experts? 

 

July 3, 2024

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