VIRTUAL REALITY IN KEEPING THE ELDERLY ACTIVE
The purpose of the VIREAS project is to provide a comprehensive solution for the use of virtual reality as means of keeping older adults active, both in residential and home care. The project has produced two main outcomes- the Virtual Experience Kit software and the Conceptual Manual. Partial findings were published in several national and international journals.
The Virtual Experience Kit offers the user a naturally stimulating environment that respects not only limitations but also the potential and several psycho-spiritual needs of seniors; e.g. the need for awareness of one’s own dignity or meaning and continuity of life story. Such an experience can positively influence the self-expression and self-esteem of the senior, provide motivation, stimulate curiosity and generally enhance well-being. The aim of the software is certainly not to “lock” the people into the virtual world, but rather to bring them new stimuli and experiences that can be used in real life and with others.
The conceptual manual, certified by the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs , enhances the benefits of virtual reality even in the older person´s everyday life.
The VIREAS project took place in 2019–2022. Its partners are the Faculty of Theology of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, the Czech Institute of Informatics Robotics and Cybernetics, and the Association of Virtual and Augmented Reality s.r.o., with the support of Home for the elderly Dobrá Voda, Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Home for the elderly of Mistr Krišťan and Gerontological Center.
All testing took place at the Home for the elderly Dobrá Voda near České Budějovice. We would like to thank the director and the activity cordinating team who contributed significantly to the final version of the Virtual Experience Kit and the conceptual manual.
“The project TL02000344 Virtual Reality in Keeping the Elderly Active was co-financed with the state support of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic within the ÉTA 2 Programme.”