Victor Pinchuk, the famous Ukrainian entrepreneur, once said, “Art, freedom, and creativity will change society faster than politics.” The statement has come true with the new emerging technologies, particularly virtual reality. With VR, there are now no limits to the kind of creativity humans can ever think of. Like other cutting-edge technologies, the great potential will only be known when it becomes a standard part of our daily lives.
Luckily, VR is now revolutionizing the lives of various age groups ranging from children to senior citizens. Everyone has a chance to benefit from it in many ways. For instance, seniors can join VR communities to improve their physical and mental health. That is why many senior care centers and nursing homes have started using VR systems as a way to keep their residents active, alert, and entertained. However, the advantages of VR extend farther than many believe.
1. Virtual Reality Keeps the Brain Active
As we grow old, our brain activity tends to slow. It is normal to experience some age-related forgetfulness. Yet, many seniors may undergo abnormal brain changes that lead to significant memory loss.
To keep our brain active, alert, and responsive, we need to stimulate it daily. That is what most nursing homes do. They amuse their residents by taking them on outings, hosting events, and bringing in specific entertainment. They hold movie screenings, game nights, and games like bingo, hoping that the elderly can keep sharp and enjoy a happier and healthier lifestyle for as long as possible. However, such events and programs are not accessible to all older adults due to their health conditions.
Nursing homes can use VR to help seniors play brain-stimulating games that encourage them to move around. Seniors can also explore spaces in a 360-degree view and interact with other participants. Such experiences may range from hiking through a forest path to dancing in a jazz concert at a speakeasy. VR enables seniors to not only stimulate their brain activity but travel across the globe and recreate memories within the walls of a nursing home.
2. Virtual Reality Improves Medical Care
In addition to activating the brain and helping seniors share experiences with peers, retirement communities and nursing homes can use virtual reality to improve medical care. For instance, VR can decrease physical pain perception by providing distraction during medical procedures that may induce anxiety and stress.
Furthermore, many researchers are now utilizing virtual reality games to detect a decline in memory and spatial reasoning. These cognitive issues are linked to various forms of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease. Physicians can now more easily diagnose these health problems through VR games compared to clinical environments. These games provide older adults with various settings requiring them to orient themselves using their cognitive and motor abilities. Therefore, symptoms of infirmity and memory loss logged by the system can be used by doctors for diagnosis and further treatment.
3. Virtual Reality Promotes Social Interaction
According to CDC studies, almost one-fourth of seniors aged 65 and older have reported feeling socially isolated. They are at an increased risk of loneliness and isolation due to various risk factors, including living alone, losing a family member, or suffering a chronic disease. Long-term social isolation can result in anxiety, depression, heart disease, and hypertension if untreated. Hence, social interaction is vital for seniors. It helps them feel a sense of belonging, boost self-esteem, and enhance their physical and mental health.
Although seniors in nursing homes often live in close-quarter spaces, they can still find it challenging to communicate and make friends. VR spaces provide seniors with a golden chance to find peers of mutual interests. Shared experiences often play a crucial role in socialization. With VR systems, seniors would not be restricted to communicating with people surrounding them. They can easily socialize without directly seeing the person they are interacting with. They can simply put on their VR headsets and travel across the globe or participate together in events they prefer. It creates a sense of community which can weaken feelings of loneliness.
4. Virtual Reality Promotes Intergenerational Connections
Cutting-edge technology is usually associated with the youth. When we think of video games, smartphones, and other digital gadgets, older adults are not often the first to come to mind. However, virtual reality is a captivating technology that can bridge the distance between different generations. It can provide an entertaining, interactive activity for families to engage in when visiting their loved ones. Grandchildren can join the VR community along with their grandparents, play games, and travel to far-flung places without having to leave the comfort of their homes.
5. Virtual Reality Facilitates Older Adult Learning
VR can enhance education by providing users with impressive and immersive learning experiences that would otherwise not be possible. As we get older, it can become harder to retain new information. Therefore, learning turns into a tough challenge for many seniors. However, virtual reality offers a new way to connect with the world and learn new things. It allows seniors to experience learning from a first-person perspective, feeling everything that is taking place around them. Visual gamified learning can significantly help increase an older adult’s overall understanding of more complex subjects, concepts, and languages.
Furthermore, VR helps educators structure their lesson plans and interactive courses tailored to the learning pace of different senior groups. For instance, they can design a variety of artistic or language courses on various cognitive levels to suit the needs of each group better.
Are you interested in bringing VR to your Senior Care Center?
At VR.MIGHTY, we constantly strive to improve the lives of the elderly and those subject to social isolation by employing the latest VR technology. If you run a retirement or senior care center and seek ways to keep your residents physically, mentally, and socially engaged, do not hesitate to contact us.
To learn more about our offering, take a tour of the virtual world of VR.MIGHTY.