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  • Writer's pictureChristele Simeoni

How can virtual reality benefit seniors?Societal impact: Virtual reality for seniors

Immersive experiences that use virtual reality, such as interactive exhibits, virtual tours or “gamified” uses, have the power to immerse users in virtual worlds and allow them to live different experiences and escape from everyday life. It’s given the ability to offer a moment of digital escape and continue to build memories through new experiences

While these experiences are often associated with youth, they are also beneficial for seniors who are often faced with the loneliness and monotony of everyday life.

One of the main reasons immersive experiences can be beneficial for seniors is that they provide a way to stay mentally stimulated and engaged. They can help maintain cognitive function by stimulating memory, concentration and problem solving. By exploring virtual environments, seniors can also improve their spatial orientation and visual-motor coordination* (which implies that the movements of different parts of the body are coordinated with the visual information previously perceived and being performed), which can help prevent falls and accidents.

Immersive experiences can also be beneficial for physical health at all ages. Fitness apps, for example, can offer a fun way to exercise without going to a sports club, while virtual tours can offer an alternative to physical travel, which can be particularly useful for seniors with mobility problems!

Virtual reality in the Ephad - Retirement homes

These experiences have the potential to transform how the sick and elderly can be cared for and supported. RV is quietly entering retirement homes for the moment to bring new experiences to residents.

Used in good conditions, with people trained to support users, these technologies help create virtual environments where patients can interact positively with their environment, and already experiences show that this has a significant impact on their physical and mental well-being.

Wearing masks, residents can go out, walk in a park, go to a show or concert!

We can also take seniors to countries or regions where they can no longer go, discover new places or go to familiar places. Virtual tours can be entertaining and enriching activities, it also offers the opportunity to share experiences and reduce social isolation, which is often the case in this type of institution….

Immersive experience to reduce anxiety and pain?

A VR trip in a simulation environment could help improve the mental health of the elderly and sick. Seniors who often suffer from social isolation can benefit from virtual reality to help them feel more connected to the outside world by allowing them to escape a little.

Studies have also shown that using virtual reality to distract patients during painful medical procedures could help reduce their level of pain and anxiety. This can be particularly useful for patients who need invasive care and treatment.

Immersive experiences can, in some cases, help patients with mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression, learn stress management techniques and develop social skills.

Managing mobility differently

Older people with mobility problems obviously also have difficulties accessing certain environments, which unfortunately still too often limits their participation in activities and their mental well-being. Virtual Reality offers an alternative to inaccessible physical environments, allowing those with disabilities to participate in activities and experiences they might not otherwise have.

While these experiences are not a substitute for human interaction and physical activity in person, they can offer fun and stimulating alternatives!

Some interesting additional articles on the subject:

The Benefits of Virtual Reality for Seniors» by Forbes

"The potential of the game for older adults"

NPR Virtual Reality Can Help Seniors Reconnect With The World — And Possibly Avoid Falls

"The Silver Gamers: Senior Citizens Embrace Video Games" by The New York Times


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