Virtual reality could help seniors with dementia

LINN, Kan. (WIBW) — Chris Brickler stood in the middle of a rural Washington County, Kansas pasture, surveying the scene.

“This will be real cool here,” he nodded, placing a stand topped by an orb of cameras amidst the grass.

But this wasn’t an ordinary video shoot. Brickler used setups of anywhere from six to 24 cameras at once, aiming to capture high-definition footage of everything around him to recreate in a 360-degree view, virtually, for a unique audience.

“Virtually reality really isn’t just for 23-year-old gamers anymore,” Brickler said.

A few miles down the road, inside the Linn Community Nursing Home,
residents like Marian Gross and Lila Tiemeyer are proof of what Brickler means.

Sitting in rotating office chairs in one of the facility’s conference rooms, they enjoyed places they’ve never been, or maybe, once were.

“He was coming right for me!” Lila exclaimed to the staff, who see goggles before her eyes, whereas she was watching cats play. “You could just reach down and pet him.”

“It looks like you’re right there,” Marian agreed.

Brickler, with a background in film, and his business partner, Shawn Wiora, who worked in senior care, chose Linn as one of five pilot sites for their company, MyndVR, to test how virtual reality could benefit senior citizens.

“We really think that there’s an opportunity for seniors to enjoy this,” Brickler said. “They have time on their hands, there’s experiences around the world that they haven’t ever been able to do and this provides them that experience.”

It’s not all just fun and games. The hope is that a dose of virtual reality time is better than any dose of medicine for patients with dementia or other cognitive…

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