When it comes to technology I am something of a Luddite.
I have an iPhone, but Siri argues with me. I’m not adept at Facebook. I don’t tweet. Tech support is a friend I spend way too much time with.
So, it comes as no small surprise to find that I am fascinated by Virtual Reality.
Like many, if not most, I have thought of VR strictly in terms of gaming or science fiction. But I am discovering it has enormous therapeutic value—in mental health, PTSD, rehab, pain management and more…and increasingly for persons living with dementia.
For persons in assisted living or memory care who may be feeling unengaged, socially isolated, anxious or depressed, VR is a window – a portal to experiences that bring joy and relaxation, new conversations and relationships and a greatly enhance quality of life
It’s also just extraordinarily fun!
I’m amazed by the number of people and programs I have encountered in the last few months that share my excitement—gerontologists, neurologists, psychologists, scientists, professors and scholars, creative aging programs, senior living facilities and memory care units, all eager to take part. And the circle keeps growing.
With their help we are developing a new program – Expanding worlds – Enriching lives. Set to begin this fall, it will explore the remarkable advances being made in technology and VR and the cross-currents in art, music, theatre, meditation and spirituality. We seek to increase our awareness and understanding of the potential of VR and, equally importantly, introduce VR to senior living facilities throughout Seattle. It’s a work in progress, so stay tuned.
One final thought – my Aunt Louise is 97 and just plain bored. She loved Hawaii and, given her druthers, would be there today. With VR she can go there! Now this will be fun!
Pictured above: Phyllis & the Drum Circle.