“Virtual reality (VR) therapy may vastly improve the lives of people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, a small new study from the University of Kent, U.K., has found.
Specifically, researchers found that exposing people with dementia to virtual reality environments helped them recall old memories, reduced aggression and improved their interactions with caregivers.
“VR can clearly have positive benefits for patients with dementia, their families, and caregivers. It provides a richer and more satisfying quality of life than is otherwise available, with many positive outcomes,” explains Dr. Jim Ang, PhD, one of the study’s researchers.”
“Technology now offers many ways of assisting or enhancing care, changing the way in which we support people.
Tricuro [a social care provider owned by Dorset CC, Bournmeouth BC and the Borough of Poole have had] over 100 clients taken through virtual reality experiences across residential and day services … to conduct trials in pain management, wellbeing and structured reminiscence.
Keeping [people] happier and healthier for longer is the goal, and virtual reality and other emerging tech gives new tools to explore new and alternative ways of achieving this.”
“Virtual reality is being used across the world to help people with dementia, and to give friends, family member and carers an insight into what everyday life can be like for those with the condition.
A video shared on Youtube, aims to show how virtual reality system ImmersiCare can improve the wellbeing of those living with dementia.
The software, which transports people in an alternative, virtual world, has been used as a form of therapeutic engagement for residents with dementia, in a partnership between Immersicare and UK care home group Quantum Care. “
“UCLA researchers are the first to blend virtual reality with a surgically implanted prosthesis to reveal what happens in the brain when people create memories.
At UCLA, Nanthia Suthana is one of the first neuroscientists in the world to harness the power of VR to unravel how someone’s brain encodes and retrieves memories while the person explores a new virtual setting on foot.
“Without our memories, each of us would be lost in time and cut off from other people,” said Suthana, an assistant professor of neurosurgery and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “At UCLA, we are the first to blend virtual reality with a surgically implanted prosthesis to reveal what happens inside the brain when we create memories.”
Thanks to her curiosity about how memories define us, Suthana’s advances in virtual reality have opened the door into an entirely new realm of brain research.”
“Virginia Anderlini (above) was the first private client to try out Dr. Sonya Kim’s new virtual reality program for the elderly, and says she’s eager to see more.
“There are over 100 clinical research papers that are already published that show proven positive clinical outcomes using VR in managing chronic pain, anxiety and depression,” Kim says. “And in dementia patients, all those three elements are very common.”
In addition to having private clients, Kim conducts group therapy sessions at Bay Area assisted-living centers, where a dozen or so people take turns with the goggles.”
Image and text by Kara Platoni at KQED Public Media
“[In a study at] University of Illinois at Chicago a virtual reality experience transforms the user into a 74-year-old named Alfred in order to see his perspective as a medical patient.
Seven minutes in the shoes of an elderly man whose audiovisual impairments are misdiagnosed as cognitive ones — and a story that students across many disciplines have worked together to create.
Their goal was to craft an interactive, experiential product that could be used for curriculum in geriatrics — the health and care of elderly people — because of predicted growth in future U.S. aging populations and a disconnect between patients and the students or doctors who treat them.
Becoming Alfred helps users empathize with and better understand elderly patients.”
“Virtual reality (VR) has come a long way since the 1990s. Today we stand at a tipping point, where VR is about to disrupt so many sectors such as research, sports, the military, education, entertainment, car manufacture, and even healthcare.
According to research and consulting firm IndustryARC, augmented and virtual reality in healthcare is predicted to generate $2.54 billion globally by 2020 .”
“Those with dementia in northern England have begun test-driving [a] revolutionary rehabilitation system to help with their condition – throwing them into a futuristic world where they can fight sharks, drive high-speed cars and try downhill skiing.
A specialist brain charity in Salford has installed the contraption – which is called Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment. The CAREN device, the first of its kind to be used by the public in the UK.
The charity, BASIC, says the machine is already helping patients both physically and mentally. The aim is to test the long-term benefits. It is also being used to support stroke victims and people recovering from brain injuries.”
“The natural and man-made wonders of the world are now on the travel itineraries of aged care residents from Mercy Health, which is extending a new virtual lifestyle program to all of its facilities following a successful trial.
Residents are transported around the world via a new breed of virtual reality (VR) glasses that contain visual and audio content designed specifically for aged care and people with dementia.
Mercy trialled the glasses with seven residents living with dementia at Mercy Place Parkville with a six-minute helicopter ride over France, Iceland and Africa.
The virtual reality project aims to encourage discussion around reminiscence and conversation among residents and provide users with quality of life, said Karren Gooding, Mercy Health lifestyle manager.”