Summer is the season for family vacations. Many people have great memories of packing their suitcases and hopping into the car or onto a plane with their families for a summer trip. Whether you went to the same familiar beach every year, hiked a new mountain every summer, explored your local area, went camping, or were lucky enough to take a trip abroad, family vacations can be a source of memories of landscapes, experiences, and emotions that stay with us for the rest of our lives.
But this year, due to travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, summer vacations may not be a possibility. But for the residents at Caleo Bay Assisted Living and Memory Care community in La Quinta, California, reliving the joy from family vacations is still on the table. The community recently launched a virtual reality therapy program for its residents, which uses an Oculus headset to transport residents to experiences, places, and events outside of the community’s grounds.
The virtual reality program provides research-backed benefits to residents, as well as a new, sensational source of entertainment.
This year, because of the spread of the COVID-19, Caleo Bay and other assisted living and memory care communities temporarily canceled local recreational trips and family visits in order to protect their residents. Even though that decision keeps residents safe, the community still wants to ensure that residents receive the benefits of recreational outings and new stimuli.
With virtual reality, residents can experience the joys of new, faraway places without any of the typical hassles of physical travel. Just by putting on the headset, they are transported immediately—no airport security lines or luggage required. And because there is no physical travel involved, residents can remain safely socially distanced while experiencing both familiar and brand-new locations around the world.
In addition to pure entertainment, there is new evidence suggesting that virtual reality experiences have therapeutic benefits for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. A study from the University of Kent found that the new stimulation provided by virtual reality helped dementia patients tap into old memories. For example, one patient recalled a holiday after seeing a bridge that reminded them of that trip.
Virtual reality allows Caleo Bay residents to travel on-demand to familiar locations from the past. They can revisit a family vacation spot from childhood, the city they visited on a college trip, or perhaps where they honeymooned. These virtual travel experiences could possibly help them recall old memories. Because of the increased recall, caregivers may be able to learn more about the residents’ lives, improving their social interaction and relationships.
Virtual reality can help residents beyond simply allowing them to relive past experiences. Caleo Bay’s state-of-the-art virtual reality therapy enables residents to explore bucket list journeys and experiences they’ve always wanted to complete, all within the comforts of the community. With VR Therapy, residents can explore the Caribbean Sea and virtually scuba dive with stingrays. Or, residents can discover an untapped passion for music with VR first row seats to the New York Metropolitan Opera House! Experiences that were previously too expensive, too far away, too time-consuming, or inadvisable due to health concerns are all possible with this virtual reality technology.
With virtual reality, Caleo Bay residents can experience all the entertainment and therapeutic benefits of travel—without ever leaving home!
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Caleo Bay, contact our friendly team today.