Virtual reality is a computer generated three dimensional image or environment that people can interact with. It seems real because of the use of special electronic equipment. The person then becomes part of the 3D world and can move objects or perform actions just like they do in real life. Researchers are now looking into how virtual reality can help seniors with dementia, strokes, anxiety and depression.
How is virtual reality being used to treat senior patients?
- Several companies are now offering virtual reality services. These services include glasses with 360 degree panoramic views of various places in the world. The senior can wear these and it helps to stimulate their minds.
- For those who suffer from pain due to various diseases, treatment can include immersion in a 3D environment. This helps patients to focus on something other than their pain.
- Many dementia patients have psychological needs which are difficult to meet. The use of virtual reality technology offers them comfort and relieves stress.
- Virtual reality services and equipment are ideal for those who live alone without companionship. Many seniors can’t get out a lot and the services bring the outside world to them.
Virtual reality has proven to be not only useful to the mind but for physical exercise. Some equipment in senior’s homes is set up to be used by pedalling. In order to move from one scenic view to the next, the patients must pedal. This has given them an incentive to participate and they have become more physically active.
Though seniors still need interaction with others, virtual reality has shown to be a useful alternative for the many elderly patients who can no longer travel or communicate as well as they once did. For more information on how virtual reality can help seniors, click here.