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Virtual Reality Used in Dementia Care Settings

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The world of memory care is ever changing and requires multi-faceted approaches to unique and enriching care. One such approach is merging the worlds of dementia care and technology.

Upon visiting an assisted living facility, two college students witnessed the transformative opportunities virtual reality has to offer persons living with dementia (Persons with Dementia). Upon donning a virtual reality (VR) headset, one dementia resident was able to be transported to a museum in which he was viewing a 3D version of a Van Goh masterpiece. The experience was paired with classical music playing along at the same time. Feeling they could make a profound contribution to engagement opportunities for PWD, the two students, Reed Hayes and Dennis Lally, embarked on a journey to create accessible devices for this purpose.

Thus, Rendever was born, a startup committed to improving seniors’ lives through VR. Since 2016, over 100 headsets have been created and distributed to those who can benefit most-dementia residents and sick children who cannot take vacations of which they’d always dreamt. The VR headset devices allow the user to be instantly immersed into any destination, be it another country, an experience, like a hot air balloon ride, and even familiar locations, like their childhood home. In addition to transporting the wearer to any location or experience, the technology allows multiple devices to be synced to each other with audio function so multiple users can experience activities together, like hiking or scuba diving. This offers the opportunity for discussion, social cueing and perhaps reminiscence.

Perhaps most enriching is the ability to link the devices to 360-degree cameras which family members can use to record events that a dementia resident may not be able to attend, like a family wedding or vacation. This allows the VR user to feel as if they are actually at the event.

As the population of dementia residents rapidly grows and changes, caregivers and communities will be required to adapt to the evolving needs of residents. Employing the use of technology is a wonderful way to enhance opportunities for engagement, enrichment and quality of life.  Dolan Memory Care Homes is amazed at the technology advancements. Dolan Memory Care Homes recognizes the importance of technology in caring for loved ones with memory impairments through implementation of cameras in the interior of homes.

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Photo by Rendever



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