Virtual reality therapy could provide relief for the elderly – Reuters

Dorothy Yu, a business consultant from Weston, Massachusetts, has turned the streets around the University of Missouri campus into virtual reality so that her father can see the buildings where he was a professor. Now 90 and residing at Maplewood Senior Living in Massachusetts, it helps him to proudly remember the work he did there, both during and after the session, she said.

Brian Geyser, vice president of Maplewood, which now offers virtual reality in each of its 17 communities, most of which are located in the Northeast.

To participate in VR Therapy, you must attach a headset that covers your eyes and blocks out all light, but relative to the 3D world you enter. For some older adults who didn’t grow up with computers, such immersive technology can be overwhelming, said Amanda Lazar, a human-computer interaction researcher at the University of Maryland.

“The face is a very personal part of the body,” said Davis Park, vice president of the Front Porsche Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, a non-profit organization that brings technology, including virtual reality, to communities of elderly people. Mr Park said a person with dementia may feel anxious when their eyes are covered or have trouble understanding the purpose of attaching the machine to their face.

To mitigate these risks, Sunshine Retirement limits VR activities to certain rooms where seniors can safely move around. They also avoid showing older people where they can evoke painful memories, Etman said, but it’s hard to predict people’s reactions.

Most providers also limit VR memory sessions to 45 minutes, although this duration can cause dizziness and headaches, especially with some medications. Helmets may also be too heavy on the necks of some elderly people or may fail to accommodate hearing and vision impairments.

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Frank Mccarthy

<p class="sign">"Certified gamer. Problem solver. Internet enthusiast. Twitter scholar. Infuriatingly humble alcohol geek. Tv guru."</p>

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