Two Ways Using Virtual Reality Helps Dementia Patients

grandfather and grandchild using VR headsetsPicture for a second how it could feel to struggle with the cognitive obstacles of Alzheimer’s disease. The people who are closest to you are no longer familiar. The words that would roll off your tongue without a second thought are now just beyond your grasp. In fact, the whole world as you once knew it has turned completely upside down, leaving you yearning for a recognizable foothold.

One of the kindnesses imparted by dementia is the long-term memories that oftentimes remain intact long after short-term memories have disappeared. It is why connecting a senior with Alzheimer’s to the past is usually an incredibly effective way to engage them – through music, movies, photos, and reminiscing. We can also now add a high-tech tool to the mix that is demonstrating impressive results with seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; virtual reality.

Skip Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, has been using the technology to help veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. He’s now expanding his reach to seniors – beginning with his own 89-year-old mother, whose delightful reaction to a virtual trip to Rome confirmed exactly how effective the technology can be for older adults.

Rizzo shares an encounter in which he visited a nursing home where a group of residents were simply sitting around a table in silence, until he began showing them flashcard-like pictures of objects they might recognize from their past. The change in the atmosphere was electric, as the seniors began sharing memories with each other. With the potential of low-tech tools such as simple photos to create delight for seniors, just imagine the opportunities available to us now with high-tech options like virtual reality!

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

Improved Health Care

The distraction of virtual reality is showing to be an effective tool for easing physical pain for seniors. It can also be used to enhance balance and other motor skills as well as improve spatial reasoning. It can even help doctors detect health conditions by monitoring how older adults respond in various activities and games.

Increased Socialization

We know that older adult isolation is a contributing aspect in a number of physical and mental health problems. A recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine presented that up to one in four older adults feel socially isolated. To tackle this concern, AARP Innovation Labs developed an app called Alcove, in which older adults and their friends and family can enjoy virtual reality experiences together.

Would you like to learn more creative options to improve quality of life for an older adult you love? Connect with our team at Responsive Home Care, for home care in Hollywood, FL and throughout the greater area at 954-486-6440!

Aging in Place: Technology Solutions for Seniors

An elderly woman is using a smartphone. Whether you’re attempting to tune a guitar, study a new language, or just add cats’ ears to a selfie, there is an app for that! And for seniors who elect to age in place, technology may be an essential element in improving safety, comfort, and overall well-being.

Take Amazon’s Alexa, for example. Whereas its current benefits for seniors are many, including the ability to track glucose levels, make doctor appointments, and research information related to a specific medical condition, it is actually positioned to dive even further into the medical care arena – perhaps even detecting heart attacks and helping doctors get precise diagnoses.

The following are some additional ideas for technology for seniors you might like to consider:

  • Home Security: A motion-detecting security system delivers peace of mind pertaining to crime prevention, yet often can perform a lot more; for example, warning when sensing smoke, broken glass, or temperatures in the home that are too high or low, just to name a few. They’re also beneficial for those diagnosed with dementia who can be at risk of wandering, to alert to an older adult’s movements around the home.
  • Telehealth: Save a trip to your physician’s office by making use of one of a variety of apps which allow for remote consultations from board-certified physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists, a lot of whom are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
  • Fall Prevention: One of the top contributors to senior falls is insufficient lighting. Smart lights use motion detection to boost lighting in areas of particular concern, which include between the bedroom and bathroom, or on exterior walkways, when set off by a person’s movement.
  • Fraud Protection: Senior con artists are unrelenting and consistently changing their tactics. Older adults can boost security through apps that keep track of financial activity and neighborhood crime activity, reduce robocalls, identify any use of a person’s Social Security number, and so much more.
  • Health Care: Multiple healthcare needs can now be met without leaving home, including video chats with physicians to avoid a visit to the office, medication ordering, and medication management to ensure meds are used at the proper times as well as in the correct doses.

Contact Responsive Home Care for more suggestions for improving life at home for older adults – whether via technology, our specialized in-home care assistance, or both! We’re always here to help set up and explain technology for seniors, and also to provide you with the tried-and-true, hands-on assistance in the home that enables older adults to live their best lives. Call us now at 954-486-6440 for an in-home consultation to learn more about the best home health services Pembroke Pines and the surrounding areas have to offer!