Understanding the Benefits of Virtual Reality for Seniors - Unlimited Care Cottages

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Understanding the Benefits of Virtual Reality for Seniors

With virtual reality growing more advanced every year, it brings new advantages for people of all ages. The benefits of virtual reality for seniors, especially those in assisted living care, continue to excite the senior care industry. Through increasing and maintaining mental and physical health, virtual reality allows older people to be healthier than ever.

Is there a senior in your life that could benefit from VR experiences? Read below to discover the amazing ways virtual reality could help someone you love. 

Previewing Retirement Communities

More assisted living facilities are using VR to provide tours. If you’re looking for a senior living home, you could preview it without leaving the comfort of your couch. If the senior is moving cross country, is immuno-compromised, or recovering from a medical operation, they can still tour their potential new home.

These tours can help a senior choose the best home. It also gives them the opportunity to accommodate their new place before moving there, helping them adjust and plan ahead.

Taking a Virtual Vacation

Old age can make travel difficult. Whether it’s visiting an old familiar place or a bucket list destination, virtual reality can help.

If a senior wants to visit their childhood home, a VR headset can be programmed to give them that experience. Visiting familiar places provides essential comfort to Alzheimer’s patients, can treat homesickness, and more.

VR headsets also provide vacations without leaving home. If the senior wants to visit the Colosseum or Cinque Terra, you can program the headset for the experience. Being older doesn’t mean you should stop experiencing the world!

Improved Physical Health

From prevention to healing and skill acquisition, virtual reality has many physical health benefits for seniors.

Chronic Pain Management

Distraction is an essential method of managing pain. Seniors who experience chronic pain can find relief in virtual reality. When the pain becomes unbearable, they can escape to a relaxing location. While the pain will be there when they return, any amount of relief improves their quality of life.

Managing Difficult Procedures

Virtual reality can make scary or painful medical procedures easier to handle. During a blood draw, mole removal, or waking surgery, VR provides a welcome and effective distraction. Would you rather just look away from the needle or immerse yourself in a beautiful pond in the middle of the Hawaiian jungle?

Retraining Physical Skills

As people age, many physical skills fall out of use and become less habitual. Virtual reality can help seniors retrain skills they’ve lost. Whether it’s fine motor skills from building a model airplane, swimming movements, or riding a bike, VR retrains it.

Increases Exercise

While many people struggle with motivation to exercise, the pain involved for seniors makes it more difficult for them. But exercise is essential to keep older people healthy.

Virtual reality makes exercising fun! It provides a distraction to mitigate the pain of repetitive movements and can even turn it into a game. You cannot experience virtual reality without moving. Consistent VR use increases overall physical health and strengthens muscles!

Avoiding Isolation

Isolation and loneliness are two of the biggest problems seniors endure after moving into assisted living. More than a quarter of adults who are at least 65 years old report feeling socially isolated.

Even if they’re in an assisted living facility, a senior can still feel lonely. While they remain surrounded by staff and other residents, they may miss family members.

Virtual reality for seniors can help establish new connections through group participation. When groups have shared experiences, they connect easier and grow long-lasting relationships.

If families also possess a VR headset, they can visit the same places as the senior. The ability to strengthen relationships form enduring connections, and share experiences, all from a distance, has never been easier.

Improved Mental Health

There are several ways VR experiences can improve and maintain a senior’s mental health.

Anxiety and Depression

Decreased mobility, isolation, loneliness, chronic pain, and adapting to a new lifestyle frequently cause anxiety and depression. Regular virtual reality experiences can help prevent the onset of mental illness or mitigate symptoms.

If the senior suffers from any of the following symptoms, they might benefit from virtual reality:

  • Startling easier than usual
  • Uncharacteristic difficulty making decisions
  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling more overwhelmed than usual for longer periods of time
  • Vomiting, nausea, or stomach pain not explained by physical illness
  • Not finding pleasure in things they usually love
  • Frequently lashing out at people trying to help
  • Sleeping more frequently or having difficulty getting out of bed
  • Change of appetite

By treating the underlying causes of anxiety and depression, VR helps seniors avoid the most common mental illnesses.

Educational Opportunities

According to studies, using VR to learn new information increases memory accuracy by almost 9%. By making the learning process more entertaining, seniors can retain what they learn despite the challenges that come with declining cognition. 

Virtual reality can also realistically recreate real-life experiences to provide immersive and memorable experiences of whatever the senior wants to learn.

Increased Cognitive Ability

In addition to preventing or healing mental health issues, VR can enhance a senior’s already healthy mind. Virtual reality enhances established neural pathways and increases cognition.

Virtual reality can also enhance a senior’s motivation, ability to problem-solve, and ability to identify and express feelings.  

Detecting Problems Early

Over time and with consistent, monitored use, virtual reality can help doctors identify early-onset Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive declines. Early intervention is essential to manage symptoms and may prolong life expectancy.

Use Unlimited Care Assisted Living Cottages for Your Senior VR Needs

Now that you know the benefits of virtual reality for seniors, do you know a senior that could benefit? Family involvement in assisted living is essential for the senior’s life satisfaction.

Unlimited Care Assisted Living Cottages uses the power of VR to improve the lives of our residents. Want to know what we can do for your family? Call us at 713-419-2609 to find out more about what we do today!

Amber