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The Aussie startup tackling seniors’ isolation epidemic with VR

Loneliness and isolation among seniors in aged care facilities is a devastating and growing problem, but a Melbourne-based startup is bringing seniors together through shared experiences in virtual reality (VR).

SilVR Adventures is providing highly immersive virtual experiences tailored to groups of seniors in aged care facilities across Victoria and planning to expand to more Australian states in 2020.

“Virtual reality has many proven applications in helping the elderly, from improving memory and tackling dementia, to helping with mobility. But one of its most striking and immediate benefits is its power to bring people together,” says Juliene Pudsey, Director of Community Engagement & Experience at SilVR Adventures.

With participants responding so well to trial sessions, some of the largest aged care providers in the country have asked SilVR Adventures to deliver programmes across their facilities.

Participants wear a VR headset and are guided by a SilVR Adventures facilitator through one of a range of scenarios, from exploring the Great Pyramids of Giza or meandering through the laneways of Rome, to journeying into outer space. All sessions are supervised by an aged care professional.

Pudsey says: “We take participants on incredible virtual trips to destinations around the world and beyond, but what participants usually enjoy most is sharing these immersive experiences with others.

“We’ve taken seniors on virtual plane trips and had participants ask if they could skydive from the plane as a group. It’s a safe environment where participants get really creative and adventurous, but the communal element of that shared experience is so important. We’re helping create shared experiences, resulting in shared memories and connections.”

The over 65s is the fastest growing demographic in Australia and studies have shown that seniors experiencing extreme loneliness are up to 26% more likely to die prematurely.¹

SilVR Adventures is collaborating with academics at two of Australia’s leading universities to investigate the benefits of VR in increasing happiness, social wellbeing and cognitive capability.

“With an endless range of potential experiences and relative affordability, VR has massive potential to help seniors live, happier, more connected lives. We’re thrilled to be part of something that can make a real improvement to seniors’ quality of life.”

Notes to editors

¹ The challenge of social isolation and loneliness:


Social Media: @SilVRAdventures

Press contact: Colin Pudsey, CEO & Director of Business Development

Virtual Reality evokes fond reminiscences for aged care home residents

Aged care home residents have revisited their favourite places and memories through a Virtual Reality trial.

The Chief Executive of the 360 degree experience technology trial said: “To see the joy this experience brought to our residents was so uplifting. Virtual Reality is such an innovative concept and one which the elderly are not frightened to embrace. We hope to continue to provide our residents with these wonderful opportunities and experiences.”

Residents Bill, Betty and Sarah relived some of their favourite memories and experiences through the technology.

Bill was taken back to the Rock n’ Roll era, Betty saw where she started her married life in the house, street and church where she was married and Sarah visited France where she ran a bed and breakfast with her son and reminisced her time there.

Betty said: “It’s unreal, really. It just transports you back. It’s beautiful.”

The successful trial received widespread media coverage on the BBC and more information can be found here.

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Virtual Reality

Virtual reality, also referred to as VR is a technology that uses a headset to generate images and sounds and other cues that help to make the user believe they are in an imaginary environment.

A person using a virtual reality headset is able to move their head and see the artificial world as if it was real. Virtual reality worlds can be created to seem real or science fiction.

The term virtual reality was first used in a book published in 1938, and then in 1982 in a science fiction book.

Virtual reality began in the 1960s when a head mounted display was created but it took many years before the consumer market began to be truly interested in it. It wasn’t until the 2010s that a virtual reality device truly peaked consumer interest.

Interesting Virtual Reality Facts:

  1. Virtual reality is meant to enhance real life, not replace it.
  1. Virtual reality is being used in health care. It allows medical students to practice dangerous procedures and gain experience without actually operating on a human. It can also help surgeons determine the best point of entry for surgeries.
  1. Scientists with NASA can use virtual reality to enable robot arms in space to perform gestures that are being done on earth with an operator.
  1. Oculus VR is a company that launched a Kickstarter project to release virtual reality goggles in the 2010s. Their goggles brought a lot of interest to virtual reality after many years of not a lot of interest by industry or consumers. With the use of Oculus, people are able to travel via virtual reality without actually having to pack, fly, and spend the money on a real trip. Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014.
  1. The global AR and VR market is expected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022.

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