Dementia Care Tips: How to Better Connect Through Virtual Reality

grandfather and grandchild using virtual reality headsets
Try these dementia care tips from the leading provider of in-home caregivers in Victoria to better connect with someone you love.

Imagine for a minute how it might feel to grapple with the cognitive complications of Alzheimer’s. The people who are closest to you are now unfamiliar. The words that would roll off your tongue without an additional thought are now just beyond your grasp. In fact, the whole world as you once knew it has completely turned topsy-turvy, leaving you yearning for a familiar foothold.

However, one of the kindnesses imparted by Alzheimer’s is the long-term memories that often remain intact long after short-term memories have subsided. It is why connecting older adults with dementia to the past is frequently a remarkably effective way to engage them – through music, movies, photos, and reminiscing. We can now add technology to the list of dementia care tips for how we can help seniors mentally connect with the past. One in particular is demonstrating impressive outcomes in seniors with dementia: virtual reality.

Skip Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, has been making use of the technology to assist veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. He’s now expanding his reach to seniors – starting with his own 89-year-old mother, whose delightful response to a virtual visit to Rome showed precisely how effective the technology can be for seniors.

Rizzo relays an experience in which he visited a care home where a group of residents were just sitting around a table in silence, until he began showing them flashcard-like pictures of objects they might recognize from their past. The transformation in the atmosphere was electric, as the older adults began sharing memories with one another. With the potential of low-tech tools such as simple pictures to create joy for seniors, just imagine the opportunities available to us now with high-tech solutions like virtual reality!

The advantage of virtual reality for older adults goes beyond merely bringing enjoyment and boosting memory, such as:

Improved Medical Care

The distraction of virtual reality is proving to be a powerful tool for easing physical pain for older adults. It can also be used to improve motor skills and balance and improve spatial reasoning. It can even help doctors detect health conditions by monitoring how older adults respond in various games and activities.

Increased Socialization

We know that older adult isolation is a contributing aspect in a variety of physical and mental health problems. A recent research study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine revealed that up to 1 in 4 older adults are feeling socially isolated. Would you like to learn more creative options to improve quality of life for a senior in your life? Contact Serenity Home Care, the leading provider of home caregivers in Victoria and nearby areas, at 250-590-8098 for more information!