Welcome to a care home in the UK where virtual reality technology brings joy and cherished memories to elderly residents. By immersing themselves in virtual journeys, these seniors can now explore the world and unlock precious moments from their past. The care home fosters a unique and uplifting experience for its residents by embracing innovation.
Care Home Has Started Using Virtual Reality To Help Elderly People Unlock Memories
Discover the latest initiative at Downing House in Withington, powered by Manchester-based VR Doctors.
This innovative research offers virtual reality headsets to older people, including those with dementia, providing them with a gateway to new experiences while uncovering beloved memories from the past.
Residents can now go on engaging virtual experiences that brighten their days and bring joy to their hearts thanks to cutting-edge technology and compassionate care.
"The VR Doctors got in touch with us a few months ago and offered a free demonstration of their technology. We are always looking for some out-of-the-box activities for our residents to try, so I took them up on their kind offer," Activities Coordinator Rubina Hewitt explained.
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"Three of our residents took part in the demo. They were fitted with the headsets and allowed to explore wherever they chose."
Following the successful trial, the residents now eagerly participate in hour-long monthly sessions.
The VR experiences have become a cherished part of their routine, enriching their lives with new adventures and rekindling treasured memories.
With each session, Downing House continues to foster an environment of excitement and happiness, where technology and compassionate care come together to make a lasting difference in the lives of its beloved residents.
"I was blown away by how much all three enjoyed it. The benefits were immediately apparent, so I had no hesitation in booking a regular session so that all of our residents could benefit from the VR experience," Hewitt explained.
Speaking to BBC News, one of the residents, a man named Bernard, laughed and talked about how much he enjoyed the experience.
"You are immersed," he said.
"If you're getting a little bit older and you're a bit knackered, you can't climb Mount Kilimanjaro... but you can... with this."
When asked whether he would like to climb Mount Kilimanjaro using the headset, Bernard replied 'oh yes'.
"When they first put it on it's quite funny because they're like 'oooh' because obviously it's something strange on them," Hewitt explained.
"But after a few minutes, they're very relaxed, and they're moving their hands and looking all around."
Indeed, the similarities with the "San Junipero" episode from Black Mirror are evident, where elderly residents utilize a device to relive their youth.
At Downing House, this initiative is purposefully designed to enhance the physical and mental well-being of its residents, particularly those living with dementia.
By virtually visiting places from their past and embarking on personalized journeys, the residents can unlock cherished memories and engage in meaningful conversations.
"We're able to use virtual reality and take them back and unlock some of their memories," explained Kam Akram from VR Doctors.
"Also virtual reality can actually take them back to old places, where they used to live," he continued.
"So for example we have like a Google Maps, but it's in virtual reality. So we can take them to their old street, their childhood street, and they'll just unlock memories and it starts conversations."