Seniors adventure the world, virtually

Tuesday, 14 July, 2020

Seniors adventure the world, virtually

Normally our Out & About feature showcases an event that is happening out in the world. This issue — with events across Australia being postponed or cancelled — we are turning the concept on its head and looking at how some of Australia’s seniors are getting out and about virtually.

A Melbourne-based start-up has brought the world to seniors isolated in aged-care homes via a virtual reality (VR) headset.

Specialising in group VR therapy and social engagement among the elderly, SilVR Adventures began services in 2019 with guided communal VR sessions that encourage social interaction for groups of seniors in care homes across Victoria.

As a result of ongoing lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has introduced a self-service subscription solution that allows aged-care facilities to run as many sessions as desired for an unlimited number of residents, while adhering to social distancing.

“Our goal is to increase the happiness of care-home residents and tackle the isolation many feel on a daily basis, especially during this difficult period,” SilVR Adventures CEO Colin Pudsey said.

“We can transport residents to a treasured memory from their youth, or even create new memories of adventure and wonder. But the greatest feature of our sessions is that they bring people together in a shared experience and sense of purpose.

“After taking part in our sessions, we’ve found that residents feel more connected to each other and their care team, and are more likely to share memories and stories.”

SilVR Adventures provides access to its library of continuously updated VR content curated especially for seniors. The programs are developed to cover three key experience areas: reminiscence therapy, world travel and family bonding, so even visiting family members can share an experience with their loved one.

“It’s amazing to see the impact our group VR sessions have had with participants, and fantastic that our partners are working to improve the wellbeing of their residents by embracing new technology,” Pudsey said.

What participants say

“That was so overwhelming, to go from sitting here and now we can go anywhere. I can’t even begin to think of where I want to go. How can you make that decision when you say you can take us wherever we want to go? That was magnificent.” — Maree, 85

“I forget everything in the last 50 years. What I talk to my wife about, everything I forget. But I’ll never forget you. I’ll never forget this. I’ll never forget today. This was amazing. Thank you.” — Mario, 88

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