Does anyone have experience/info re using virtual reality devices for elderly people with dementia? - AgingCare.com

Does anyone have experience/info re using virtual reality devices for elderly people with dementia?

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My 96-year-old mother can no longer stand and walk, and has fairly advanced dementia. Today she was talking about going to Hawaii, and was enjoying watching the Audrey Hepburn "Gardens of the World" DVD. I was thinking how great it might be for her to be able to "get out" using this virtual reality technology, about which I know next to nothing. Thought I would start some research here. Thanks.

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Our senior center had an event put on by the library with VR headsets that seniors could wear with a "tour" of Hawaii. I was with our non-profit managing the event and there weren't any issues with dizziness for the 30 or so seniors who participated. I doubt any of them had advanced dementia though. For the amount of time the senior would be wearing the headset, I don't think any damage to the brain would be possible.

The original poster could check with their library to see if they have any kind of VR headsets that can be loaned out to try. I'm 68, but the idea of VR for a senior is a great one in my book!
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Reply to blannie
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I can't imagine one demented person in mom's facility who would be able to wear it and enjoy it

Stick to movies and music in fact try musicals like seven brides for seven brothers or South Pacific
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Reply to MsMadge
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Remember when people thought penicillin was just moldy bread that should be thrown away. That's why it took 25 years for penicillin to be widely accepted even after it was shown to work. Some people just couldn't grasp a new idea. Happens all the time. Just like how it took the US 70 years longer than the rest of the world to ban lead paint. People just couldn't believe that paint could hurt anyone. Those who choose to live in the past, die in the past. I prefer to embrace the future based on science and not fear.

More examples of VR for the elderly.

www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/8r0rv0/help_ideas_vr_for_the_aged/

The only people I would steer away from VR are kids. That's solely because headsets are sized for adults and thus can't accommodate kids with a much smaller IPD.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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Several years ago people were developing wrist syndromes, such as carpal tunnel and tenovitis, from texting, according to an arm and hand doctor I was seeing then. He said he had seen an increase in number of patients, especially younger ones, with these problems.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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There will be pros and cons for the VR, as for any new devices. One magazine C/Net says that motion sickness is still an issue with its users, similar to that of flight simulators used by pilots for training.

As for travel, if I can't get to a place, I can always watch Rick Stevens on TV, as his travel logs are excellent.

I am old enough to remember when cigarettes were considered healthy to smoke. I am just concerned that cellphones, VR, and other devices will be the next cigarette type health risk. But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. I wasn't wrong back in the 1960's regarding health hazards of tobacco.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Since we've been side tracked a bit. I'd like to bring it back to topic with a couple of more posts. New, just today!

Here's an 80 year old pilot that can "fly" again after being grounded for 40 years thanks to VR.

www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/8qmd07/my_80_yearold_father_flying_again_after_giving_it/

And for people that can't make it to Holland or climb those stairs, you can now visit Anne Frank House. I've been there in person and even a fairly fit person will find it a bit of a challenge to get up those stairs near the top. I can't imagine how someone with walking problems could possibly do it. In VR, they can.

www.oculus.com/blog/introducing-anne-frank-house-vr-an-immersive-experience-that-recreates-amsterdams-secret-annex-and-preserves-a-piece-of-holocaust-history/
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Reply to needtowashhair
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Freqflyer, I can't think of a single real VR headset that has a magnet in it. You must be thinking of the various "cardboard" adapters for phones. Some of those may have a magnetic clasp. Those are really low power. Like the same as on a cell phone case or a purse. Considering that you hold a cell phone or purse much closer to your pacemaker than a VR headset, if those don't have a problem neither would the magnetic clasp on a VR adapter for a phone. Yes, having a pacemaker in a MRI is a problem. But the magnetic field in a MRI is MUCH stronger than in a little magnet for a clasp. Otherwise beware your refrigerator magnets the next time you go for a midnight snack.

As for your concerns about EMI and brain damage. I refer you to the links I posted above. Those claims belong with vaccine scares and Elvis is alive and working in a diner.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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Gardenartist, as for your brain comments. Once again, batteries do not put out EMI fields like that. You are thinking about radios. There was a scare a few decades back concerning cell phone radios. It was soundly dismissed. But of course with most things that are popular scares, like the vaccine scare, the scare lives on long after the science has put it down. Fake facts took hold in American long before this current fake facts fad.

Here's a couple of articles you should read.

www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/cell-phones-fact-sheet
www.snopes.com/fact-check/cell-phone-cause-brain-damage/

I've known people that have done research with many 100's of times more radiation than you would get from a cell phone. Brain damage is the least of their concerns.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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Gardenartist, once again, how's someone that can't stand let alone walk going to do that stroll through a forest you keep proposing. How many people even live close to and can access said forest or seashore? With VR everyone can.

As for citations, here are few. They are quite easy to find. They have been widely reported.

www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/healthy-ageing-stay-mentally-active
www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/7-ways-to-keep-your-memory-sharp-at-any-age
www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/preventing-dementia-brain-exercises#1
www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201601/regular-exercise-along-standing-is-the-key-longevity

Those are popular media articles. Here's the nitty gritty if you are used to reading research papers.

www.nature.com/articles/nature12486
www.nature.com/articles/ncomms6504
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19587326

It's pretty conclusive. If you keep using your brain, you will be mentally sharp. If you don't. You won't. Many people simply give up with the excuse that they are old. They are "old" because they gave up.

Look no further than the notorious RBG for a prime example of the benefits of keeping physically and mentally active. I don't think I can keep up with her work out. Personally, I've known plenty of people who still did science well into their 90's and 100's. I'm no longer young and kids assume I can't keep up with them. I still show them up after suckering them in by playing the role of the old guy.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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FF, I read recently that neuroblastomas, typically seen in children, have been developing in adults who use a particular form of tech device....I don't recall if it was a specific cell phone, or something else.

It might have been related to li-ion batteries; I have a vague recollection of that as well. I didn't bookmark the site but it was a medical site, not like Web MD but a real one, perhaps something like an NIH site.
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