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Technology makes bucket lists for aged care residents a (virtual) reality

Samsung Electronics Australia will partner with aged care provider Uniting to help their residents’ wildest dreams come true from the comfort of their facilities.

Uniting piloting the virtual reality technology to fulfil resident bucket list items (Source: Uniting)
Uniting piloting the virtual reality technology to fulfil resident bucket list items (Source: Uniting)

The pilot program will see Samsung visit five Uniting aged care homes across New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory and allow residents to tick items off their bucket lists as they experience realistic virtual reality technology.

The partnership hopes to affirm the correlation between virtual reality experiences and positive wellbeing, reduced isolation and the fostering of social integration for both aged and dementia care patients residing at Uniting.

Additionally, the technology will allow Uniting’s carers to experience a ‘day in the life of a resident dementia’, to help them develop a deeper understanding of the stress, confusion and disorientation their residents with the common neurological condition.

Head of Alliances and Partner Solutions, Enterprise Mobility at Samsung Australia, Martin Brown says this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the positive impact immersive technology can have on an individual’s health and wellbeing.

“We’re looking forward to undertaking this pilot with Uniting and taking their residents to places they’ve only ever dreamt about,” he says.

For 66-year-old Annesley House gentleman, Steven Cusack, that place is the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, a dream that will soon become a reality.

Whereas, 75-year-old Donald Jackson wishes to stand amongst the breathtaking Canadian giant redwoods.

Associate Professor of the Uniting War Memorial Hospital, Nick Brennan notes virtual reality can have a therapeutic effect and stimulate the brain.

“Using virtual reality technology in this way can give dementia residents and older Australians new adventures which they could not otherwise achieve due to mobility or health problems,” Mr Brennan says.

The five Uniting sites flagged for the program include Annesley House (Haberfield, NSW), Uniting Wontama (Orange, NSW), Uniting Caroona Jarman (Goonellabah, NSW), Uniting Amala (Gordon, ACT) and Uniting Bowden Brae Gardens (Normanhurst, NSW).

Executive Director of Uniting, Tracey Burton is looking forward to seeing how the technologies can help residents regain their independence.

“Together we believe we can brighten many residents’ days and fulfil unlived dreams,” she says.

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