World Virtual Reality Day is celebrated on 20th November 2021 and brings the energy and interests of the greater VR community together and focuses that energy on the benefit of everyone in one special day! For SilVR Adventures, it’s a chance to reflect on the joy and connection that we’re bringing to the lives of older adults in aged care.
We’ve taken thousands of elders on shared virtual reality experiences to amazing destinations, historic moments, and places of personal significance and we wanted to share the inspiring work that our partner Goodwin is doing with VR in their care homes.
Goodwin is one of Australia’s most innovative aged care providers, and throughout the pandemic they’ve found a new and exciting way to engage with their residents. It all started with a problem that lifestyle managers know all too well. Goodwin’s Abbie Dawson explains:
“Pre-COVID we used to do Monday was your social activities day, Tuesday was your physical day and Wednesday you mix it up. And each day you try to engage the different interests of all the residents. And you'd find not all people like to join big group activities. So, we were seeing that there was a need for something else.”
With a reputation for finding creative solutions, Goodwin set about exploring some possible options.
“Yeah, I guess [at] Goodwin, we've tried to be a bit more think out of the box and innovative. VR has been around for long enough that, it was out there, but not too known or heard about. And I guess giving it a trial was an option for us.”
They purchased a virtual reality kit, with 5x VR headsets and subscription that includes software, training, technical support, and a full library of immersive tours around the world. Abbie and the lifestyle team were ready to take groups and individuals on meaningful, shared virtual experiences.
“In my mind, you know an activity is successful and you've done a good job if they're talking about it afterwards. When the headsets come off, you will see those that like to hang out with each other, just click together and they have their own conversations. And then it's just them enjoying stories between residents.
“They love talking about their travels, it meets not just their social needs, but also their physical by getting out of their rooms and getting to the location that the virtual reality setup is in. And it also gives them a chance to have a bit of an experience and a chat after the session.”
But for some people, small groups can be overwhelming, and the best way to support them is one-on-one.
“We had one resident that was new. She used to live in an independent living unit by herself, but with a dog. She'd been moved into our care home for probably about four or five weeks. We could only ever get her to go for walks outside with us, but we'd push her wheelchair. She wouldn't want to come to any of the other group activities, didn't want to come out of her room. And then one time on our way back from the walk, we just had it already set up and she got involved in it.
And she was very anxious because she thought her daughter might've caught her on the phone, but actually found out that it was probably the best experience or you know, thing she's done in such a long time, because she's never really escaped the suburb we're in for years.”
Since trialing their first kit, Goodwin have found it to be such an important tool for engaging with some residents, that they’ve purchased a second.
“Once we found that the virtual reality solution was such a success at one site, we just thought about making sure that we don't strip that away from our residents, that we can still continue that rather than use that kit to roam across the different sites each month.”
Underpinning Abbie and Goodwin’s success with VR is their commitment to delivering holistic care, focused on the individual. A commitment that makes SilVR Adventures proud to partner with them.
“It's about ensuring the environment that they were in, is more homely and moving away from that medical model - that we're looking at models that can improve their sense of identity, with meaningful activities and giving them more confidence.”
You can hear the full interview with Abbie on the Aged Care Enrichment Podcast here: https://ace-aged-care-enrichm.captivate.fm/episode/silvr-champion-goodwins-abbie-dawson
About SilVR Adventures
SilVR Adventures' purpose is to improve the lives of older adults through meaningful, shared virtual reality experiences and activities. If you are an innovative aged care, disability care or home care provider and want to know more about our award-winning VR solution, then kindly visit our website for more information and get in touch today: www.silvradventures.com.au
To learn more about innovative aged care solutions to global challenges, listen to our “Aged Care Enrichment Podcast”, featuring guests such as Prof. Joseph Ibrahim, Paola Barbarino and Dr. Al Power. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or online here: https://silvradventures.com.au/podcast