Virtual reality and well-being in older adults: Results from a pilot implementation of virtual reality in long-term care


Ferzana Chaze, Leigh Hayden, Andrea Azevedo, Ashwin Kamath, Destanee Bucko, Yara Kashlan, Mireille Dube, Jacqueline De Paula, Alexandra Jackson, Christianne Reyna, Kate Dupuis and Lia Tsotsos


Introduction: This paper describes the findings of a pilot implementation project that explored the potential of virtual reality (VR) technology in recreational programming to support the well-being of older adults in long-term care (LTC) homes.

Methods: 32 Adults in four LTC homes participated in a pilot implementation project where they viewed VR experiences of popular locations in Canada created especially for this project. Data in this paper are based on multiple viewing experiences (n = 102) over a two-week period.

Results: VR appeared to be an effective distraction from pain for the participants. Participants of this study found the VR experiences to be enjoyable and were relaxed and happy while viewing them. Most participants were attentive or focused while viewing the VR experiences, and the experiences were found to be a source of reminiscence for some of the participants. Participants related well to others around them during a majority of the experiences and the VR experiences were a point of conversation between the staff and the participants.

Conclusion: The findings from this pilot implementation reveal that VR shows potential to enhance the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being of older adults living in LTC, including those living with cognitive impairment.