Care home residents use virtual reality to bring back memories

Garden Hill care home residents have been using virtual reality to bring back old memories.

Garden Hill care home residents have been using virtual reality to bring back old memories.

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Residents at a South Shields care home have been using virtual reality to reminisce about the good old days.

By using a virtual reality headset which plays videos and audio recordings, people living at Garden Hill Care Home, in St Michael’s Avenue, Westoe, have enjoyed stepping into familiar and far way settings, from South Shields beach to Buckingham Palace.

Garden Hill care home residents have been using virtual reality to bring back old memories.

Garden Hill care home residents have been using virtual reality to bring back old memories.

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 idea was facilitated by Newcastle-based company Reminiscence.

The use of virtual reality for reminiscence sessions at the home allows residents with lower mobility to revisit favourite places and get up close to wildlife.

The headset view is also displayed on a handheld tablet so that the home’s activities co-ordinator can chat with residents about what they’re seeing.

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

New videos are then created from the feedback and specific requests made by residents which are then used in future sessions with that person.

The innovative sessions have proved popular with residents at the home, which provides nursing and residential care for up to 38 residents.

Lindsay Donoghue-Flockhart, manager at Garden Hill, said: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the virtual reality reminiscence sessions, the feedback from residents has been fantastic and it’s been great for generating conversations and bringing back happy memories.

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

“It’s also been very beneficial for our residents who are bed bound or have very limited mobility as it gives them a way to interact with the world and visit places they would otherwise be physically incapable of going to.”

Virtual reality is technology that uses software to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment, or create a fantasy setting.

Users wear goggles with a screen in front of the eyes that create sensory experiences to transport them to another place.