“Can VR add value to the well-being of elderly with dementia?”

With this question we started the research project with Zuyd Hogeschool (Maastricht Academy of Media, Design & Technology – MAMDT), Vivantes Zorggroep, Expertisecentrum voor Innovatie Zorg en Technologie (EIZT) en Novicare at the beginning of 2018. For this project we have supported the students of MAMDT with developing and testing the VR-experiences. The students have done research and observations to get acquainted with the target group. This has helped them to make sure the VR-experiences are suitable for elderly with dementia.

Their research has resulted in four different VR-experiences: a underwater world, a farm, a butterfly garden and a fair. The experiences all have a different degree of interaction. This gave us the possibility to research what would be the right degree, form and moments of interaction for this target group.

VR experiences for elderly with dementia

The VR-experiences created in this research project will be exclusively available on our HumanXR VR-platform.

Results

One of the question we get asked a lot is: do the elderly allow you to put on the VR-headset? Our experiences with this are very positive and also this research has shown good results. 14 of the 17 elderly with dementia did not have a problem with wearing the VR-headset. These 14 elderly enjoyed the VR-experiences visibly, including a man of 103 years old. The elderly have worn the VR-headset for an average of 15 minutes and none of the participants has showed any form of unease of negative physical or emotional reactions.

We are very happy with the positive results for the first part of this research project. The research shows the potency VR has to increase the quality of life of elderly with dementia. The second part of the project has already started and we cannot wait to show those results here as well.

The full publication of the results has been included in the ICT & Health magazine nr. 4 2018.