Care home residents get a virtual view of the past

Residents at an East Durham care home have been using modern technology to bring back old memories.

Tuesday, 17th October 2017, 2:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 5:27 am
A Field View resident tries the virtual reality kit.

By using a virtual reality headset which plays videos and audio recordings, residents of Field View in Blackhall Colliery enjoyed stepping into familiar and far way settings, from Beamish Museum to Buckingham Palace.

Wearing the headset gives a 360 degree view of a location from a point-of-view perspective and is able to track head movements, making for a fully immersive experience.

The use of virtual reality for reminiscence sessions at the home, facilitated by Newcastle-based company ‘Reminiscience’, allows residents with lower mobility to ‘revisit’ favourite places and get up close to wildlife.

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The view is also displayed on a handheld tablet so staff can chat with residents about what they’re seeing.

The content is customised to the individual based on the places they have lived or visited in their lives, their likes and interests.

Janice Hardy, activities co-ordinator at the home, said: “The virtual reality reminiscence sessions have been fantastic.

“Using the goggles is a lot of fun and we’ve even had staff and family members joining in with the sessions so it’s been great for generating conversation.

“The experience really is very immersive and since the videos shown are personalised to each person then it’s so much more meaningful.

“It’s also been very beneficial for our residents who prefer not to participate in group activities or struggle to communicate with others.

“It’s a way for them to engage in a way that’s meaningful for them. It’s brought back so many happy memories for a lot of our residents.