Our goal was to trial a participatory workshop whereby older adults with dementia create their own VR experiences with their family and friends. We believe that the process of creating these experiences, learning to use the technology, spending time with family and meeting new friends, will be beneficial in reducing isolation in seniors and that personalized meaningful VR experiences may serve as a trigger for lucidity in those living with dementia. Moreover, the process of VR creation itself can be cathartic for both seniors and their caregivers. A longer-term goal would be to create an archive of experiences of seniors living in Toronto to serve as a living, growing, cultural artifact.
Due to the COVID-19 , our team had to pivot this project significantly. In November 2020 we ran a virtual workshop with five pairs of intergenerational participants (grandparents and grandchildren) as a relationship-building activity to in order to improve digital literacy, reduce feelings of isolation, all while capturing personal experiences during the pandemic. The workshop was a resounding success and we hope the Toronto Public Library will continue to run the program in the future capturing local stories through the use of this unique medium. Visit the project website (link above) more for information.