Essex care home residents explore the world from their armchairs with virtual reality technology

15 May 2019

Residents at RMBI Home Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court in Stisted, Essex, have travelled around the world and swum with sharks from the comfort of their armchairs, thanks to cutting edge virtual reality technology.

Residents marvelled at being able to virtually visit a host of different countries by wearing a high tech VR headset. They enjoyed exploring beaches and many other exotic locations, seeing wild animals and other extraordinary sights.

Some of the residents even chose to try a ‘shark experience’ where the wearer feels like they are in the sea with sharks.

The Home uses the VR headsets as a tool to help reminiscence and to prompt conversations between carers and residents. This is good for general wellbeing and helps guard against social isolation.

Resident Barbara Spalding, who was among those testing the VR headsets, said: “It was amazing being able to virtually go anywhere in the world and see the sights! It felt incredibly life like! Probably better that we saw the sharks virtually rather than in real life, don’t you think?”

Resident Gregory Wood agreed: “It was breath-taking how real everything looked. I really felt like I was there in a different part of the world.”

Dani Lane, Activities Coordinator at Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court, said: “Our residents absolutely loved trying out the Home’s new virtual reality technology. They could visit different parts of the world without having to move from their armchair. They all said they couldn’t believe how life like it felt.”

She continued: “It was especially lovely for some residents to experience things which they might not have been able to do for years, such as taking a dip in the sea. One resident was so entranced that she was trying to touch the animals and people that she could see. It proved to be a wonderful sensory experience for everyone, triggering some happy memories and prompting lots of lively conversation.”