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Virtual reality is creating incredible adventures for the elderly

Virtual reality (VR) is a form of immersive technology which has been considered as a drive force behind enriching modern lives. A new VR development will be incorporated in hospices across the world, in a move that will contribute to the betterment of society .

Virtual reality has come a long way since the very first popular consumer VR product, the Sega VR1, which was launched in 1991. It has been a few decades since then, and now virtual reality is proving to be an amazing innovation, capable of taking users away on journeys into newer worlds, right from the comfort of living rooms. Innovations like Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive have to be mentioned, as they paved the way for the technology. Their gaming applications allowed users to get realistic shooting experiences in vivid virtually generated environments.

Viarama, a Scottish virtual reality company and an active Big Issue Invest contributor, has set out to prove that VR is not just for ‘gaming’ uses. It is taking steps to use virtual reality in a way that positively impacts senior citizens’ lives, who are recipients of end-of-life care.

Established back in 2015, Viarama holds the distinction of becoming Scotland’s very first virtual reality company. The technology-powered social enterprise currently works on projects in the healthcare and education sectors, with participants from all age groups. It carries the objective of improving the life standards of these groups. The company also provides technology training to participants aged between 18 and 24, with the aim of enabling these individuals to aid others. However, the most important contributions of Viarama are related to the palliative care and hospices, which are capable of significant social impact.

Bill Agnew, chief executive, Viarama, revealed to The Big Issue that the general population currently considers children as technology savvy individuals. He stressed that the level of positive change technology can bring to the lives of senior citizens is not that widely understood.

Agnew elaborated that Viarama’s association with the elderly started a few years back, due to one of its projects which involves a VR system for individuals who are afflicted with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The company had decided to use the application of this tool across diverse senior citizen population groups.

According to Agnew, following this VR-based experiment on the elderly, the findings opened his eyes to the bigger picture. He said that the response was overwhelming as elderly individuals really enjoyed the entire experience, and its impact on them was intense. The experiment also stirred up a lot of emotions, which was uncalled for.

Viarama is using the combination of HTC Vive headsets and powerful computers, along with Google Earth’s virtual reality technology, to effectively generate unforgettable journeys, which are practically impossible for many elderly people.

Agnew reveals that the senior citizens are getting the opportunity to tour the world, right from their hospice. They can travel to places where they will most likely not be able to travel to again during their lives.

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