The pandemic has been hard on all of us, especially at-risk groups with preexisting health concerns. Senior citizens are one of these groups that have been hit the hardest, with the number of social activities and sports that they can partake in being drastically reduced. Consequently, the levels of social isolation amongst seniors increased during this trying time.
Not only does social isolation impact mental health by increasing your risk of anxiety and depression, but also negatively impacts your physical health. Studies have linked loneliness to numerous diseases, including heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and immune system deficiencies.
Luckily, virtual reality (VR) came to the rescue for seniors across the United States to curb this isolating issue. The company MyndVR has been working tirelessly over the past five years to create VR therapy goggles to reduce loneliness. We’ve previously reported on the promising results of this company’s isolation studies. After this positive response their product is in full swing helping fight against social isolation in residential homes across America.
VR has been growing in popularity in more ways than just gaming in recent years, with doctors seeing the potential in using VR therapy to increase comfort and access for patients. The incredible technology has also revolutionized how we study the brain and improved outcomes of mindfulness practices like meditation.
There was some apprehension at first to this up-and-coming technology amongst the seniors. However, due to the results and accessibility of the program, after trying the goggles most embraced their new option to be transported anywhere whenever they wanted. “We’ve essentially reimagined VR away from this youth-based gaming culture to a very safe, secure and senior-friendly platform,” said Chris Brickler, co-founder of MyndVR to ABC action news.
He added: “We’re just super excited about providing this service to so many older people that are, you know, sometimes lonely, combating isolation, certainly with a pandemic. That’s been a big problem, but we also provide a lot of joy that helps with some of the depression and anxiety that exists in senior living.”
Some of the things you can experience using these goggles include going to the theater, traveling around the world, petting animals, experiencing live music, being in nature, educational content, and more.
Don’t just take it from MyndVR, users of the goggles have come back with raving reviews. Virgil Pittsinger, a senior living at the Sodalis assisted living community in Tampa said: “It’ll break the isolation. You can take a trip and not leave your chair.”
Combating loneliness in this way could hugely improve the quality of life of seniors, and hopefully in the future this transportive treatment will become more accessible and widespread.