MyndVR is helping to reduce loneliness with virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) is starting to gain momentum in healthcare. It’s increasingly being used for training purposes, such as in the operating room and by ophtalmologists. It’s also emerging as a tool to help with mental health conditions like anxiety, by immersing the user in a scenario that would habitually cause them to become anxious, and combining this with therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
MyndVR focus on elderly people, using their technology to reduce social isolation in aging residents in care homes. The US firm has licenced a vast library of licenced VR content to create MyndVR Studios, with the aim of producing therapeutic experiences that positively impact the lives of seniors, veterans, and other groups of people who are at risk of social isolation.
Working in living communities for the elderly, care agencies, state and federal veteran homes, and with elderly individuals living in their own homes, their simulations enable older adults to interact with the outside world, fostering engagement, cognitive wellness, and happiness.
The company has now signed a partnership with Technology for Ageing & Disability (TADWA), an Australian not-for-profit enterprise that will help MyndVR expand into Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.
As a result TADWA’s occupational therapists and technicians will be able to use customised headsets, care tablets, and MyndVR's content powered by Littlstar, a leading global content distribution network.
TADWA was established in 1984 to help elderly people and those living with disabilities with occupational therapy, home modifications and automation, technology support, assistive technologies, custom equipment, recreational and vehicle mobility solutions.
"At TADWA, our focus is on significantly improving the quality of life of our clients, their caregivers, and families through compassion, technological excellence, and innovation" TADWA CEO Steve Pretzel said.
"Age and disability should not define a person's future or detract from leading a meaningful life. When physical mobility is limited, virtual reality can provide a sense of exploration, adventure, and fun. The MyndVR system provides great content as well as great control functionality.
“With the benefits of VR becoming better understood, we see a huge opportunity for families and particularly residential care facilities to reduce the impacts of isolation and improve the quality of life for residents."
NHS care homes are better than private, report finds
A new survey has found that 60% of people with parents in NHS care homes believe the quality of care has improved, compared to just 49% of respondents with parents in private care facilities.
The survey was conducted by Kepler Vision Technologies, an AI-driven company formed at the University of Amsterdam. It was carried out among UK adults with parents over the age of 75.
Respondents cited more capable care staff and better monitoring systems as being the main reasons for improvement.
However those who do not have parents in assisted living facilities had a different viewpoint - in this case only 35% of respondents believe that NHS facilities are improving, compared to 32% who believe it is only improving in the private sector.
Only 18% of people whose parents live with them or independently believe care home staff are able to look after residents to a good standard.
Kepler Vision say this difference in opinion is due to perceived budget cuts and financial pressures, with 67% of people commenting that a lack of funding has had a negative effect on care in both NHS and private care facilities.
Other key findings of the survey include:
* Out of those who say quality has declined in care homes, 69% say the NHS is dealing with budget cuts and increased financial pressure, while 65% also said that the private system is dealing with these pressures too
* 55% said that they or their parent have money saved specifically to pay for their future care
* 35% said the idea of their parent in a care home makes them feel frightened, although 32% say it makes them feel secure
* 52% are worried about their parent catching COVID
* 47% are worried about their parent being lonely
* 46% are concerned they could fall over alone
The announcement of this research follows the UK government's decision to delay presenting its social care budget till the autumn.
Commenting on the research, Dr Harro Stokman, CEO of Kepler Vision Technologies said: “While it is good to see that people recognise the importance of staff and face-to-face interaction in elderly care, the huge gap in opinion between those with parents in care and those without shows that there are unfair negative perceptions around the residential care space.
"More can and should be done by care homes to give people the confidence that their relatives will receive the very best care - by highlighting the excellent work of staff and how well they are able to monitor resident’s needs with easy-to-use technology.”