Virtual Reality Becomes A Safe Haven For Sunshine Retirement Living’s Senior Residents During COVID-19

Virtual Reality Becomes A Safe Haven For Sunshine Retirement Living’s Senior Residents During COVID-19


BEND, OR (APRIL 15, 2020) – Sunshine Retirement Living, a Bend, OR family-owned senior housing company with 32 Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities in 16 states, knows that for those with memory-related disorders, the pandemic has presented unique and immense challenges. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia rely on routine and any changes to those daily routines, such as restricting access at its Assisted Living and Memory Care communities to outside visitors, can result in increased stress, anxiety and undesirable responsive behaviors.

Sunshine Retirement Living has recently turned to an innovative Virtual Reality (VR) therapy program that is helping to bring the outside world in. According to a 2109 study conducted by University of Kent in the United Kingdom, “Bring the Outside In: Providing Accessible Experiences Through VR for People with Dementia in Locked Psychiatric Hospitals,” reported promising results for the future of VR therapy and the positive effects on mood and engagement.

Now being piloted at several communities across the country, the program features state-of-the-art Oculus VR headsets and several special VR software programs that allow residents to choose from a variety of experiences such as traveling to virtual locations like beaches, forests, landmarks, and more. Along the way, many residents uncover fond and distant memories which in turn promotes joyfulness and calm while also reducing aggressive or responsive behaviors. Other residents can enjoy the experience too as it can be shown in real-time on a nearby television or computer monitor.

“At Sunshine Retirement Living, our top priority is and always has been the health, happiness, and safety of our residents,” said Luis Serrano, CEO, Sunshine Retirement Living. “We continue to research and implement a number of innovative therapies that can help our seniors, especially those with memory-related disease, to thrive to the best of their abilities. This pioneering Virtual Reality program is already showing immense benefit and we look forward to bringing the therapy to more of our communities in the coming months.”

In addition to the new Virtual Reality program, Sunshine Retirement Living has also recently incorporated several other pioneering therapies and amenities at its Assisted Living and Memory Care communities. Among those are an innovative Montessori-inspired approach to dementia care that provides sensory and cognitive stimulation to help residents reconnect memories to the world around them, relearn skills, and revisit positive emotions to help reduce anxiety; a 24/7 dining experience featuring meals recommended by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the MIND Diet Program, which may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 53 percent, and help maintain cognitive function equivalent to a person seven and a half years younger; and Wala lighting to promote Circadian Rhythm wellness.

About Sunshine Retirement Living

Based in Bend, OR Sunshine Retirement Living manages 32 retirement communities in 16 states, offering senior apartments, independent living, assisted living and memory care. A family-owned business with more than 20 years in the senior housing industry, Sunshine Retirement Living’s mission is to be the preferred senior living provider offering value, choice and independence while promoting health and social interaction that exceeds residents’ expectations and enriches the lives of both residents and staff. By providing meals, housekeeping, activities, transportation, utilities and in-house management staff, Sunshine Retirement Living continues to build an unparalleled community feeling in each property. For more information, visit www.SunshineRet.com or connect socially, @SunshineRetirementLiving.