For older adults, virtual reality has long been touted as a way to access distant locales and “travel” without dealing with health and care limitations.
New applications of the technology, however, are giving seniors VR access to somewhere more intimate and personal: their own home.
RiverSpring Living, a services provider for more than 18,000 New Yorkers, is collaborating with VR company Rendever to help people who are being discharged from hospital or rehab to be reacquainted with their living spaces, the company announced Tuesday.
The VR platform allows older adults to explore their home and possibly review new additions such as hand railings before actually returning.
The tech could help prevent falls — an issue that affects 40% of older adults after being discharged — and reduce readmission rates, Rendever said.
“I found the VR home safety assessment helpful to see what I needed to do in order to prepare and be safe at home,” patient Albert Stashin said of Rendever in the release. “Being safe is important to me so I can live my fullest life.”
The platform relies on synthesizing videos and pictures that are taken of the patients’ home.
Rendever also notes its VR is not limited to the home; the company also can allow users to “attend” events like weddings and grandchildren’s sports.
“Virtual reality is a powerful tool that opens so many doors in the healthcare journey,” Rendever CEO and co-founder Kyle Rand.
Another VR company, MyndVR, also announced Tuesday it is partnering with the Peplinski Group, which manages 10 skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities in Michigan, to provide VR-based therapy solutions, particularly for Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia.
The platform — users use VR glasses — allows patients to practice movements in their kitchen, or a grocery store, a Peplinski Group spokesman stated in the release.
VR is becoming increasingly prevalent as a tool to aid in treatment for seniors at nursing homes and senior living communities. In New York, some VR therapies are now also covered by insurance, McKnight’s Senior Living reported earlier this year.