Virtual Reality Calms Residents during COVID-19

CAST | October 14, 2020 | by Donna Childress

System geared to older adults and people with disabilities lowers sundowning.

After COVID-19 ended group activities, virtual reality brought more calm and less sundowning among more than 400 residents at four Pillars senior living communities in Minnesota.
The Pillars, a LeadingAge Provider Member, first offered WellnessVR in 2019, wrote Anita Cornelius, regional housing living director at Ebenezer Management Services in Minneapolis, which manages the Pillars, in a recent McKnight's Senior Living guest column.
The Pillars system is designed to reduce stress and promote well-being among older adults and those with disabilities, Cornelius wrote. Residents can use these headsets on their own, in their own rooms. Experiences range across three categories—relax, travel, and culture. They happen in 360-degree video, and most scenes are still, to match this audience's needs.
Recent results corroborate 2017 findings, when Ebenezer first used WellnessVR at its Minneapolis campus. After using the system twice a week for four weeks, assisted living and skilled nursing residents reported the following: 

  • 96% felt happier
  • 97% felt more relaxed
  • 98% felt more positive
  • 94% felt less worried
  • All respondents enjoyed their experience. 

CAST Social Connectedness and Engagement Technology Tool

If you are considering implementing virtual reality, be sure to tap the CAST Social Connectedness and Engagement Technology Tool. The tool will help you narrow your options to find the solution that is best for your facility. It includes a white paper, interactive guide, selection tool, selection matrix, and provider case studies.