Virtual Reality for the elderly

When Virtual Reality facilities the exercise habits of the elderly

As the application of Virtual Reality on the welfare area during the past years has been expanded, it is primarily because VR Technology has become a lot better and more inexpensive. Something that has made the technology better is today’s possibility to visit different locations, rather than just staying in a laboratory. This is what assistant professor at Aalborg University in Copenhagen Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen highlights, when he talks about his own interest in Virtual Reality and how he through a long time has been working with it on an academic level.

My main research area relates to how it’s possible to use media and VR technology to help certain groups in the population More specifically it has been about elderly people in care nursing homes. Now I also started to look at other types of citizens, who need rehab and it’s exactly here, where we use Virtual Reality, explains Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen

One of the latest projects which Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen has been a part of, has concerned the opportunities for elderly people to improve their exercise habits. This project aims to improve and strengthen the physical condition of the residents at a nursing home.  

The issue has typically been that it has been difficult for the elderly nursing home residents to maintain a certain activity due to e.g. pain or boredom. There are many things that can demotivate elderly residents, even if it’s a matter of health for body and mind, states Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen

The use of Virtual Reality on the elderly residents has remedied those issues, because of the technology which has giving the elderly an experience, by removing their focus from the negative aspects they affiliate with exercising. Instead of exercising in a regular way, the elderly people have been exposed to virtual nature experiences trough VR.

The application of VR on the nursing home residents which we have chosen to work with, has created positive results. To succeed in VR, it’s very important that the content is inherently interesting to the user. This is the reason for the focus on nature, as they themselves don’t have individual and independent freedom to access nature environments any longer, due to either or both physical and mental limitations, explains Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen


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