The use of virtual reality has come a long way since the concept was first introduced in the 1960s. The use of this digital reality technology is now widely available and affordable…and proving to be both enjoyable and beneficial to the older and less mobile among us. The introduction of Virtual Forests in many of our homes is designed to harness these benefits for our residents, and this is why…
Because VR keeps the brain active
As we age, brain activity tends to slow. To combat this decline the brain needs to be stimulated daily. Most residential aged care facilities do their best to ensure residents are stimulated daily through a variety of organised outings, visiting entertainers and activities designed to afford residents a good quality of life for as long as possible. Many homes are now also introducing unique virtual reality experiences into the lifestyle program to help boost resident’s moods and promote brain activity.
Because VR promotes socialising
While residents live in close quarters, often it is difficult to make friendship connections. Group led, shared virtual reality experiences can help promote socialisation as residents travel across the world to explore foreign lands or share a special ‘virtual’ experience together. Community connection and socialisation opportunities are vital as we age as it creates a sense of purpose, a feeling of belonging, increases self-esteem and improves physical and mental health. Using virtual reality in homes also helps decrease loneliness and improves quality of life overall.
Because VR promotes positive emotions and relaxation
Recent studies have found that exposure to virtual reality experiences has helped participants maintain a high level of positive emotion and relaxation. One study reported that 100 percent of participants said they enjoyed the experience. The majority reported that virtual reality had a positive impact on their mental health, with 96 percent saying it helped them feel happier, 97 percent felt more relaxed, 98 percent more positive and 94 percent less worried. Can’t argue with statistics like that!
Because VR benefits Therapeutic Recreation
VR removes barriers that prevent many elderly people with low mobility from participating in therapeutic recreational activities. Not only does VR allow the user to experience things they’ve never seen before, it can also be used to improve cognitive function and problem-solving skills.
Because VR can enhance motor control
Many recent studies have been conducted into how virtual reality can be beneficial in the training of motor control in the elderly. The combination of game-like exercises and cognitive challenges are not only enjoyable but also help increase physical activity levels in the elderly population. These activities are thought to play a part in improving cognitive function and motor skills.