Reminiscence Therapy has been around since 1963. The theory is that seniors can get therapeutic benefits from viewing their life from a different point of view. Back then, it meant old wedding videos or photos from childhood.
Although those methods were effective, they weren’t genuinely immersive. And Virtual reminiscence therapy overcomes that shortcoming. Technologies like Head Mounted Displays can turn an old wedding video into a truly immersive experience. This lets a senior person relive that memory and appreciate their life lived so far.
Many people are haunted by dementia as they grow older. In addition, residents of nursing homes suffer from loneliness, anxiety, and depression. VR therapy can significantly help relieve these conditions, as studies find.
Learn more about the developments, benefits, and considerations of VR Reminiscence therapy to help the senior person in your life.
Background of VR therapy: Around three percent of adults over 70 have dementia. The number increases to twenty-two percent after the age of 80. These patients lose their memory and reasoning skills with each passing day. In addition, countless seniors suffer from depression and anxiety.
VR HMD sessions can help relieve these neurological symptoms by immersing patients in past experiences. Besides lifting the patient’s mood, these sessions also improve memory and reasoning skills. Additionally, seniors can move around and work on balancing abilities as they navigate the virtual world.
Fights Loneliness and Isolation: These two problems are more common among senior citizens than in any other age group. Especially residents at nursing facilities often feel isolated from family and society.
Isolation and feelings of loneliness can seriously impact a senior person’s health. Here, VR therapy can be beneficial. Participating in group VR sessions engages patients socially and thus reduces these negative feelings.
Improve memory function: Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease-associated dementia and similar conditions can severely affect a senior person’s memory. In this case, remembering past experiences and linking those events can slow down that decline.
Therefore, virtual therapy reminiscence sessions can help to improve memory and reasoning. Although this doesn’t necessarily ‘cure’ the neurological conditions, it can still soothe the symptoms.
Overall well-being and Cooperation: VR reminiscence session helps senior citizens recall memory and feel connected to family and society. These sessions distract the seniors and provide an immersive pleasant experience. As a result, the person can reduce anxiety, anger, and depression.
So, their overall sense of well-being increases. And this leads to better cooperation with the caregivers and adherence to other therapeutic methods.
Considerations for VR therapy in Older people: Most older people of this generation are not used to computers and devices like their younger counterparts. So, many of them might not initially welcome the idea of a VR session.
Moreover, a VR headset requires strapping onto the head and covering the eyes. It blocks all the light and sound of the world to immerse the user in a different reality truly. This might be uncomfortable and scary for many older people. Therefore, proper counseling is necessary before any session.
VR Reminiscence therapy can help older persons to improve their quality of life. Plus, you can efficiently conduct these sessions at home or in the care facilities. All you need are a few simple VR equipment. So, do you think VR sessions are suitable for older citizens? Please share your thoughts in our forum. We also encourage you to register and join our mission.