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Residents from Anglican Care take a walk on the virtual side

Visiting a childhood home, taking a tour of Italy and shooting a few hoops can be difficult for an elderly person in aged care, however, not impossible when you have access to virtual reality (VR) technology.

Anglican Care Booragul resident, Bruce Wilson, trying out the new VR technology, watched by fellow resident, Bruce Dunne and staff member, Donna Thomas. [Source: Anglican Care]
Anglican Care Booragul resident, Bruce Wilson, trying out the new VR technology, watched by fellow resident, Bruce Dunne and staff member, Donna Thomas. [Source: Anglican Care]

Residents from Anglican Care Booragul, New South Wales (NSW), engaged in a special diversional therapy session, using VR headsets to experience a whole range of exciting, lifelike activities.

Older Australians are becoming more in sync with technology and digital connections, using the internet for emailing friends and family, face-timing their children and grandchildren, paying their bills, or reading online news.

Residents aged 80 and over experienced VR recently as a part of the Anglican Care’s Lifestyle and Wellbeing program. Anglican Care trial of virtual reality with some of their residents is in preparation for a technology roll-out across Anglican Care sites to improve the care and lifestyle options for residents.

Marketing Manager, Kylie Jacques, says, “Recent studies prove the benefits of diversional therapy through virtual reality technology and we are keen to embrace that at Anglican Care.

“Through the use of VR, people have already witnessed reduced isolation and improved socialisation after the event as they discuss their experiences with others.

“Our VR Day [allowed] Anglican Care residents and consumers to experience a wide range of involvement both utilising the VR goggles and also watching on as others delve into this brave new world.

“We had a fantastic day with our 14 residents and consumers who participated in our virtual reality trial. We were keen to involve our residents and consumers and to obtain their input into whether or not virtual reality is something that they think would work on an ongoing basis. We certainly received a resounding ‘YES’ from everyone involved.”

Winsome, an 84 year old resident who participated in the VR day, says he felt like he about to fall off the edge of the world.

Eighty year old resident, Ray, says, “What an experience. I was on that ride, I was there.  Beautiful and amazing.”

June, 84 years old, and Jennifer, 72 years old, both thought the VR experience gave them a weird and wonderful feeling.

Resident history buff, Petter, 80 years old, says, “I don’t need a bucket list anymore!”

The Anglican Care lifestyle team were blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm of the residents who participated.

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