VR can clearly have positive benefits for patients with dementia.
Virtual Reality (VR) can turn out to be a boon for people with dementia as it could aid them recall their memories, minimise aggression and also better their relations with their caregivers, a new study discovered.
The study published in the journal Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems incorporated eight patients between the ages of 41 to 88.
Each patient used a VR headset to 'visit' one of five virtual environments (VEs) of a cathedral, a forest, a sandy beach, a rocky beach, and a countryside scene. Sixteen sessions were monitored with feedback gathered from patients and their caregivers.
According to the findings, VR helped patients recall old memories by providing new stimuli difficult to achieve, due to ill-health, or inaccessible within a secure environment.
For example, one patient recalled a holiday when they saw a bridge in the VE because it reminded them of that trip while another remembered a holiday where they visited a market.
Dr Jim Anf, one of the researchers said, "VR can clearly have positive benefits for patients with dementia, their families and caregivers. It provides a richer and more satisfying quality of life than is otherwise available, with many positive outcomes."
"With further research it will be possible to further evaluate the elements of VEs that benefit patients and use VR even more effectively," he added.
Adding to it, the researchers said that it becomes easier to produce 360-degree VR videos; it could allow VEs specifically designed for individual patients, such as their home or a favourite location, to be created.