3-D passport to travel for Lesmurdie aged-care residents

3-D goggles give residents a  virtual reality experience. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d445070
3-D goggles give residents a virtual reality experience. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d445070

RESIDENTS at Mercy Place Villa Maria in Lesmurdie had a close encounter with lions at an African safari and took a gondola ride through Venice without leaving the comfort of their armchairs.

The “trips of a lifetime” for seniors became possible using the latest virtual reality software. Not-for-profit aged care provider Mercy Health is trialling “armchair travel” at its six Perth aged-care homes.

The software involves residents wearing 3-D goggles, used to view a computer-generated, 360° view of different reality worlds.

Mercy Health WA state manager Anita Ghose said Mercy Health spent more than $3000 on the technology after learning how seniors’ wellbeing could be enhanced by the virtual experience.

“From the trial being run at Mercy Health’s homes in WA, including Mercy Place Villa Maria, we have evidence that this new technology not only provides residents with a great deal of enjoyment and pleasure, it also assists those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s to recall memories about their life,” Ms Ghose said.

“One resident, who spent many years as a sailor, has even been able to get back on to a ‘yacht’, which was particularly special for everyone involved in his care.”

Seniors at Villa Maria also recently joined in the 80th anniversary of one of Australia’s oldest dog rescue organisations.

Many of the residents have fond memories of the Dogs’ Refuge Home in Shenton Park.

Refuge volunteers took the seniors on a trip down memory lane as they talked through the shelter’s history.

Tales from our Home is an 80th anniversary presentation compiled by the dog refuge and named after the book published to coincide with its anniversary year.

In the past eight decades, the refuge has rescued and rehomed about 50,000 dogs and puppies.