“VR is a way to escape the real world into something more fantastic. It has the potential to be the most social technology of all time.”
Palmer Luckey, Founder of Occulus Rift
4 Innovations for Care Activities
Creativity and innovation go hand in hand, Creative Paths have always been keen to promote and use new technology in our work to provide additional social benefit for our participants and learners.
Many care homes are already utilising technologies in their care provision, with some of the larger groups investing in digital resources for their activities.
1. Communication Technology:
The lockdown accelerated the use of communication devices such as smartphones and tablets, which ensured care home residents were able to continue to connect with their family members. The use of ZOOM has been a revelation for many working in care, as its ease of use by people with early to mid-stage dementia has been widely recognised. The acceptance of the communication and willingness to engage with others through this type of platform, has meant it has proved a successful tool for group and remote activities.
For us it has meant we have been able to connect easily with people living in care homes across the country. During lockdown we maintained a programme of arts, poetry and creative activities using ZOOM to people living in care homes, ensuring important opportunities for activities in care at a particularly challenging time for care home residents.
2. Smart Home Technology:
This is the use of devices such as Bluetooth speakers, Amazon Echo and Google Home that can enable easy access to content such as the news, audio books, information, and music. It can be specifically beneficial in memory and discussion work. Providing feedback and responses to resident’s conversations and requests.
One area where this type of technology has many benefits is access to musical content, a valuable tool for personalised care as they provide instant musical responses and playlists. Also music has been shown in many studies to trigger memory. For a snapshot of the benefits watch this great video A digital lifeline
“Music has been found to stimulate parts of the brain, and studies have demonstrated that music enhances the memory of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, including a study conducted at UC Irvine, which showed that scores on memory tests of Alzheimer’s patients improved when they listened to classical music.”
3. Augmented Reality:
Augmented reality can be used to create immersive experiences that trigger memories and promote reminiscence therapy. For example, photographs and objects, that when scanned reveal audio and video content that can enhance the residents understanding and memory recall. This technology is currently in its early stages for use in dementia care, however its potential is widely recognised. We are currently working on a pilot project with the University of Nottingham and will have some downloadable reminiscence resources with audio embedded available on our website for free from Summer 2023.
Virtual reality headsets are now being utilised in care settings to provide virtual experiences for care residents, taking them to different places and environments they may not be able to access physically. The headsets offer residents virtual tours of museums, historical sites, and travel destinations. This type of technology is now being developed to be lighter and more user friendly for people with dementia. Companies such as OROI can provide demonstrations and equipment. For a snapshot of the benefits watch this Virtual reality lifts spirits
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