STEPPING into a virtual reality environment is hoped to become an effective treatment for sufferers of dementia at Mercy Place in Shepparton, with the aged care facility becoming the first in Australia to trial the state-of-the-art treatment.
From yesterday, 15 residents began taking part in a six month treatment program where they will use the virtual reality glasses daily and be transported to a different place or taken on a new adventure including helicopter rides over France, Iceland and Africa, all from the comfort of their own room.
The 360º simulated 3D environment treatment is hoped to bring many benefits to participants including improving their wellbeing, fulfilling ‘bucket list’ items, stimulating positive memories and enjoyment and encouraging storytelling and engagement.
Mercy Place Lifestyle Coordinator, Nicole Raditsas said, “This technology has been used in gaming and real estate and is very new for use in aged care, so we are hoping the benefits will be numerous.
“This is the first time in Australia that this research is being carried out in a residential aged care facility, so this is pretty special for us.
“Mercy Health will be recording the resident’s responses to the virtual reality stimuli and determine what the person is looking at, the intensity of their response, monitor for signs of well/ill-being, understand trends and long-term effects of the virtual reality program with repetitive use and monitor characteristics of engagement levels.”