Elderly residents at our partner Care Home’s Mayfield House and Samuel Hobson are trekking through the jungle on safari, taking in the Northern Lights, heading into space and sitting on the shore of a tropical island, thanks to new virtual reality equipment.
Residents are some of the first in the UK to benefit from using the technology, which was specially developed for use in care homes and hospitals, particularly those with dementia.
For 82-year-old Cerys Radcliffe, taking a virtual trip to the beach has brought back fond memories of day trips with her husband as well as in her childhood. She explains: “I was born in Wales, but when I was five, my dad contracted TB and we moved to Crewe. I used to visit the coast with my parents and my husband and I loved visiting Welsh beaches like Borth, Aberaeron, New Quay, and Aberystwyth.”
She adds: “Although I’ve previously been to Paris, Belgium and Holland, I’ve never been to a beach on a tropical island. Using the virtual reality is my only chance to see the sea at the moment, and it’s beautiful. I really enjoyed it. It makes you feel and see different things, like you are really there. I like using it to visit the beach because it reminds me of time I spent with my husband, but I’ve also used it to go into space and see the Northern Lights.”
75-year-old Les Preston and 93-year-old Kath Reilly have also enjoyed a virtual trip to the tropical beach. Kath particularly enjoyed it because she used to live by the sea in Bournemouth. She says: “I’ve never seen anything like this virtual reality before, I didn’t know it existed and I’ve really enjoyed using it.”
The new technology, called ImmersiCare, was purchased by owner Victoria Sylvester.
Victoria explains: “This technology has won an international award for the best use of virtual reality in healthcare – with the manufacturers reporting a 70% reduction in stress levels amongst patients, and pain relief that is twice as effective as morphine.
The system enables residents to stay seated while entering 3D scenes that have been extensively tested to ensure just the right level of stimulation, which is particularly important for clients with dementia.”