As war escalates in Israel, thousands of older adults living in the Holy Land are being gifted virtual headsets to help combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Some 10,000 VR headsets are coming courtesy of Boston-based XRHealth. In total, 30 assisted living communities, nursing homes and hospitals in Israel are to receive them, the company announced.
Through the VR devices, users can access dozens of alternative environments designed to help facilitate meditation or a sense of calm, such as the woods or a sunny coastline.
“As soon as we heard about the attacks in Israel, we wanted to make sure that as a company we were positioned to help assist the people of Israel through the recovery process,” XRHealth CEO Eran Orr said in a statement. “It is clear to us that the need for mental health interventions combined with the shortage of mental health clinicians in the current situation requires even more [assistance].”
The company plans to deploy 10,000 headsets overseas, Orr said. The XRHealth platform also allows for older adults and caregivers to track their progress and therapy via a mobile app. The virtual headset collects data on users, although the quantitative data captured by XR’s software is mostly based around therapy for mobility or memory care.
XRHealth first received a patent for its technology over the summer. In addition to helping with stress and PTSD, the VR platform also targets older adults living with autism and other conditions, such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
The company’s technology is part of a recent initiative by some companies to use VR as more than just entertainment within long-term care and healthcare.
In addition to developing VR programming for therapy and rehabilitation, some tech companies are designing VR tools to help train caregiving staff and clinicians by virtually simulating situations that they may face in real settings.