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With restrictions on visits to aged care facilities to help stop the spread of coronavirus, how can older people stay connected with loved ones?

The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on aged facilities across Australia.

With most of the country in lockdown, where does this leave the residents, who ­– according to a University of Melbourne study – may already have been experiencing a sense of disengagement living in an aged care facility?

Human-computer interaction experts from the university have studied the use of technology in the aged care sector to come up with ways it can be used to provide social and emotional enrichment for residents, particularly during the coronavirus lockdown.

These technologies range from relatively simple solutions, such as videoconferencing to connect residents with family, to more sophisticated programs, such as immersive virtual reality (VR).

Ageing and technology expert and project co-lead Dr Jenny Waycott told newsGP technology-based programs can be used to alleviate boredom or to provide distraction.

‘Over the past few years some aged care providers have started to include VR in their activities program. Immersive VR is particularly appealing for aged care because it is 3D and can make you feel as though you have really travelled to another place,’ she explained.

‘In this way, VR seems to bring the outside world into the confined physical world of an aged care home.’

Original article can be found on RACGP website: https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/facilitating-connections-in-aged-care-during-lockd