Staff at a Dundee care home are preparing for a charity skydive to raise money for virtual reality (VR) equipment for residents.
Balhousie Care Group, which has 25 care homes throughout the north-east of Scotland, owns a full VR system including accessories and is currently lending this out to each home on a rotational basis.
Margaret Stephen, care home manager at Balhousie Clement Park, said: “It was fascinating watching residents’ reaction to the VR equipment. This took them on trips they could only dream of making now, including underwater and ‘flying’ around the United States.
“It wasn’t long before I persuaded two members of staff to commit to buying our own set of equipment. We hope to do the skydive this side of Easter.”
VR technology has been shown to improve memory, mood and verbal communication among care home residents. The software enables them to visit ‘virtually’ anywhere, including visits to Paris, rock climbing and the cinema to, thanks to Google Earth, their childhood homes.
Yvonne Manson, Balhousie Care’s dementia consultant, said: “VR technology is an alternative, and very valuable, form of supporting our residents with extra mental and physical stimulation, and that’s essential for their well-being and state of mind. It’s exciting that technology is offering up all of these possibilities for the elderly and we’re delighted to be giving those experiences to our residents.”