Most of the time, when virtual reality is being discussed; it is in relation to gaming and recreation. But there are a number of ways to apply the technology that can be of benefit to today’s seniors and boomers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over a third of adults aged 65 and older fall each year. Some of those falls result in serious injuries and even deaths. In August 2015, biomedical engineers and clinicians from the University of Arizona began developing a virtual reality device that would reduce the risk of falling for seniors and boomers who have balance and mobility difficulties. The device includes virtual reality balance training games designed to improve balance and coordination.
Dementia and other memory impairment disorders also can benefit from the use of virtual reality. Soothing, engaging experiences can be created within a virtual reality program for individuals suffering with this often debilitating condition.
Virtual reality is used to treat a number of fears and phobias, anxiety disorders and other psychological issues. It also can be used to help ease depression in seniors and boomers who, due to disabilities or other physical limitations, are unable to leave their homes or senior living communities. Some virtual reality devices, such as Oculus Rift, can make it possible to experience any you can imagine. Want to visit Paris but unable to physically travel? Using the Oculus Rift can make it feel just like you are walking the streets of this famous French paradise. Oculus Rift is slated for public release on March 28, 2016.
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