Senior living communities are finding growing kinds of applications for virtual reality technology — from providing prospective residents with virtual tours to helping people with Alzheimer’s disease ignite long-idle memory connections.
VR is getting a lot of attention these days at LeadingAge, which has a Center for Aging Services Technology team constantly immersed in all things tech.
“I’m seeing more and more aging service providers intrigued and interested in learning more about virtual reality and the different applications in our space,” CAST Senior Director Scott Code says. He is most excited with VR’s potential for shared experiences among small groups of seniors.
Brian Geyser, vice president of clinical innovation and population health for Maplewood Senior Living, marvels at the kinds of connections VR gives residents as they don the somewhat clunky headsets with gaping smiles heads bobbing up, down and sideways while virtually visiting landmarks and childhood neighborhoods.
Among VR’s greatest promise is memory care. “For people with cognitive impairment or dementia, they have memories often locked deep inside their brains that they can’t access and one way to access those memories is through reminiscence therapy,” Geyser remarks during a YouTube video produced by Mashable, a multi-platform media company.
Adds Emily Rampmaier, vice president of clinical services for Reliant Rehabilitation, “Virtual reality is an engaging concept that can target physical functionality goals and cognitive goals.”
Other promising uses:
- Education and sensitivity training.
- Overcoming profound isolation. AARP, for example, has developed Acove, a VR app, to rekindle family and social connections
- Rehab. Over the years, VR has shown a great deal of promise in restoring mobility in Parkinson’s and stroke patients, and as a May 2018 article in the journal Neurology showed, conclusive improvements in the gait and balance in neurologic patients, especially when combined with conventional therapy.
- Pain management. Researchers have already found convincing ways of using VR as a powerful drug-free tool for burn patients.
FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS:
Ocutrx Vision Technologies promotes AR
A California-based technology startup has developed an augmented reality headset meant to help patients cope with macular degeneration. Michael Freeman, COO of Ocutrx Vision Technologies, presented the products and discussed how wearable devices, smartphones and artificial intelligence are changing healthcare at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West Conference in mid-February.
Jintronix releases group therapy program
Jintronix, a developer of rehabilitation technology, recently released an interactive person-centered group therapy program designed to support skilled nursing providers in their transition to the Patient Driven Payment Model. Jintronix Group Therapy is offered as part of a comprehensive virtual rehabilitation system.
John Knox Village partners with MyndVR, cutting-edge virtual reality solutions
South Florida life plan community John Knox Village says it will be working with MyndVR, a provider of virtual reality solutions for senior living communities, to provide residents with new means of engagement to support “compassionate, empathetic interactions with staff, as well as a resource for holistic interventions.”
MatrixCare’s Pederson lauds tech’s impact
Technology increasingly is being used help residents manage chronic conditions while leading healthier lives, according to Gary Pederson, MatrixCare’s executive vice president of Connected Health & Wellness. Pederson spoke March 24 during a webinar by sister media brand McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
CPSI offering free COVID-19 toolkit
CPSI announced that clients can receive COVID-19 Toolkits at no charge. The CPSI COVID-19 Toolkit provides current coronavirus information, as well as additional for dealing with the pandemic.