VR&R: Virtual Reality Rest and Relaxation
for People with Dementia and their Caregivers
In Canada, essential caregivers of seniors with dementia put in more hours and experience twice as much distress as those providing care for other seniors. At a given time, 21% feel they are unable to continue providing care. This burden is particularly common in cases where the person with dementia displays verbal or physical aggression. Although psychosocial interventions have been shown to increase caregiver resilience and support aging in place, supports have focused primarily on persons with dementia and not those who care for them.
VR&R immerses the viewer in different types of multi-sensory experiences: (1) 360-degree videos that simulate real-life environments (being by the ocean, watching a ballet), (2) simple and rewarding games, and (3) co-operative experiences where a loved one or volunteer can join in and interact remotely through a web-application.
The program is expected to improve the quality and quantity of respite for caregivers by allowing them to complete tasks they may not have been able to otherwise, having uninterrupted time to themselves. Importantly, the program will improve quality of life for individuals with dementia by providing something to look forward to: an activity that is personalized to their likes and abilities with a balance of entertainment and challenge found effective in managing behavioural symptoms and overall decline.