The executive director of Ohio Living Breckenridge Village in Willoughby is one of those cited in this NextAvenue.org article that looks at how virtual reality could reinvent aging.
VR allows for intensely “real” simulated experiences that could help address two major issues related to aging: isolation and cognitive impairment. Next Avenue notes that a report “found that nearly 1 in 4 adults age 65 or older is considered socially isolated, which significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes and is also related to a 50 % more risk of dementia “. “
One company operating in this space is Rendever, based in Massachusetts.
From the article:
Kyle Rand, co-founder and CEO, was a college student when he began to observe how isolation diminished his beloved grandmother’s quality of life, and promised to do something about it. Since then, he has been working to use RV “to drive new social connections through shared experiences; nothing is more important to this demographic,” he says.
Instead of being a solitary search, they expect “exits” from the virtual reality group. Instead of putting on headphones and strolling through a vivid solo landscape, you can stroll along the left bank of Paris and chat with your friends about what you’re seeing..
Breckenridge Village has been partnering with Rendever for nearly a year and “has seen first-hand the impact group that RV can produce,” according to the article.
“We wanted to offer residents a new way to experience things and remember them in a positive way. We plan a dozen group sessions a week and the immersive experience is very powerful,” explains executive director Julie Bauman on Next Avenue, who he adds that participants hold hands while, for example, traveling through Machu Picchu (“Seriously they are!”) and then stay and discuss the experience.
“It transports people to a different place in a way that is otherwise unavailable,” he says, “and it creates conversations and connections, more than ever a slide show or projection could be done.”