[ExI] VR for dementia care

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Nov 1 11:36:09 UTC 2016

This is a marvellous use for virtual reality!



How virtual reality is transforming dementia care in Australia

Two Australian organisations are looking to push their VR capabilities
to improve the lives of people living with dementia. TechRepublic
spoke to them to find out what makes the platform such a game changer.

By Jonathan Chadwick | October 30, 2016

"Our first demonstration was about 18 months ago," Pascal said. "We
went to a facility, we had a dozen residents try it and most of them
had dementia — we didn't know that before we arrived. So everyone was
a bit apprehensive as to what the reaction would be, but the reaction
was amazing. All the staff loved it and it pretty much became a hit,
because we have all these residents now communicating with each other,
talking about what they're seeing and even sharing some stories.

"Another thing we did was figure out how to sync a tablet with the
headset, so a staff member can actually see what the resident is
experiencing in real-time — that's proven very popular too, they can
help guide them and see what they like and what they don't like."

Pascal said that one of the many positive effects of the handset is
offering a distraction if dementia patients are experiencing boredom
or displaying repetitive behaviour.

"In terms of dementia residents it's more about how they're behaving
before they try it," he said. "There's one woman in particular I
remember: She had been making a repetitive moan every few seconds and
was really not reacting to anything. We got her to try Solis and
within about 10 seconds she just stopped, she was just fixated with
what was she was experiencing, which was a canoe trip. She didn't
[make the noise] again until I left. And she was in high-care."

It can also affect users in some quite profound ways. Pascal shared a
story where an elderly Italian gentleman cried when they removed the
goggles from him. When asked why he was so emotional, he said that he
had given up ever returning to Venice, and he had felt like he was
there in a gondola.

"Words like 'beautiful', 'paradise', 'Garden of Eden' continue to be
used in every presentation. The other thing they really like about it
is that it's the newest technology; they feel special. I say,
'15-year-olds would love to have this technology and you get to have
it' — and they love that too.

"And the response from carers is emotional. They want so much to be
able to provide more for their residents."


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