When you hear the words “virtual reality,” you might immediately think of a bulky black headset covering the face of a video game playing teenager. Although virtual reality is often associated with fighting pixelated monsters, these wearable machines can do far more.

Putting on the goggles and headphones allows for complete immersion in a panoramic surrounding. From providing relief from anxiety in dementia patients to allowing for new rehabilitation methods, virtual reality is gaining popularity across demographics.

Reliving Memories

With the ability to transform flat photographs into 360° environments, virtual reality can change the way we reminisce on old pictures and memories. It can place us in a faraway moment or location, like a national park or a childhood neighborhood. In a CBS article, one woman now living in a senior community, was able to virtually visit the street she had lived on and saw her old home. She said, “This is the most beautiful place in the world.”

Medical Innovations

Virtual reality is being used in healthcare, too. Immersive Rehab is one company utilizing the special features that the technology has to offer. The physiotherapy-geared startup uses virtual reality to help patients with limited mobility stay engaged throughout rehabilitation. Someone recovering from a stroke, for example, might have difficulty using physical rehab equipment to rebuild strength, but could participate in Immersive Rehab’s simulated “Fun Fair Towers” environment simply by wearing a headset and moving their arms along to the game.

Anxiety Relief

For those who want to relax or who may not be able to interact with a game,  programs such as Aloha VR allow an escape to a virtual vacation. By just putting on the headset, the user can experience the sights and sounds of a relaxing tropical location. In an interview with, the creator of Aloha VR explained why she chose virtual reality: “There are over 100 clinical research papers that are already published that show proven positive clinical outcomes using VR in managing chronic pain, anxiety and depression… And in dementia patients, all those three elements are very common.”

Virtual reality is transcending its role as a video game platform for kids and teens. It is showing its utility as a memory-keeper, healthcare tool, stress reliever, and more. Do you think you will be using virtual reality anytime soon?

If you have questions about elder care, check out our video on 5 Ways to Pay for Long-Term Care or the rest of our Elder Care Whiteboard Videos here. Contact Glenn R. Matecun about Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Veterans Benefits, Estate Planning, and Special Needs Planning by using this form or by calling 517-548-7400 in Livingston County and 586-751-0779 in Macomb County.

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