Happy memories through VR

Virtual reality trips to places associated with happy memories are having a positive impact on the mental health of older people, according to a Plymouth University research project.

The project, undertaken with residents at Abbeyfield’s Tresillian House sheltered housing scheme in Falmouth, is a six-week trial examining the effects of technology on the health and wellbeing of older people.  Residents have been introduced to RΟVR, a virtual reality (VR) walker and headset, which transports them to a place of their choice.

Run by the university’s Generating Older Active Lives Digitally (GOALD) team, the project will assess the effect of VR technology on mobility, strength, and balance.

Leonie Cooper, from the GOALD team, said residents had commented on birds singing and trees swaying in the wind.  “It’s really nice to be able to take them to places that they may not have seen before, or may not be able to access anymore,” she added.