The VR tech makes it possible for the elderly to enjoy their memories by reliving them.
A Toronto, Canada non-profit launched by a palliative care doctor and a music producer is using virtual reality for seniors to provide them with the opportunity to relive their favorite memories while experiencing highly personalized therapy.
The VR therapy was found to provide elderly patients with physical and psychological benefits.
“It improves both physical and psychology symptoms,” said Dr. Ginah Kim, one of the Express Service Society’s co-founders. “A big part of improving people’s quality of life is reminding them of their identity, which is often lost because of illness.”
Many seniors are experiencing more profound feelings of depression and loneliness, particularly when living in long-term care facilities or when hospitalized. Dr. Kim said she has seen unprecedented distress levels among her patients since the COVID-19 visiting restrictions were first introduced. This has only underscored an already existing need for more personalized therapies. For this, she feels that the virtual reality for seniors can play an important role.
“It restores personhood and gives dignity back,” she explained.
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The personalized virtual reality for seniors reminds them of their valued relationships and life accomplishments.
According to Dr. Kim, by using the VR therapy in a personalized way, seniors can be reminded of the accomplishments they’ve experienced in their lives as well as their most important relationships. It can do this by making it possible for them to spend time in other countries with their families, to stroll around the streets of their hometowns, to revisit the place where they were married, or even to attend their child’s wedding.
Dr. Kim has determined that the more personalized the VR experience, the greater the improvement the patient shows in their wellbeing.
The Express Service Society, a non-profit, is currently raising money to fund research and applications in personalized VR therapies. “There’s a little bit of a transcendence idea in the spirit of this campaign and to unite the older generations with the younger generations,” said the organization’s co-founder and creative director Didier Tovel. One hundred percent of the proceeds of the fundraising will be directed to the virtual reality for seniors to advance this technology and the benefits it can provide.