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Virtual Reality Provides Unique Benefits For The Elderly

Virtual Reality Provides Unique Benefits For The Elderly

Virtual reality (VR) may be the entertainment future for young Americans, but Dr. Sonya Kim believes is can also offer unique treatment and therapy for elderly patients suffering from a range of emotional and cognitive problems.

Kim believes VR offers a more interactive way for elderly patients to relax and provides more stimulation and comfort than watching TV. It also provides a virtual change of scenery for patients that are unable to get out much.

“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,” Kim told NPR. “And in dementia patients, all those three elements are very common.”

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According to Kim, VR can give patients a sense of peace and freedom that might otherwise be difficult to come by due to their conditions and physical limitations. For example, one of Kim’s 103-year-old patients really enjoyed her virtual visit to a beach in Hawaii, which included a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Although Kim is pleased with the results she has gotten from her patients so far, she notes that there are still hurdles when it comes to providing VR therapy for the elderly. While prices have come down and will likely continue to do so in the future, the SAMSUNG ELECTRONIC KRW5000 (OTC: SSNLF) Samsung Gear VR headset still costs roughly $850, not including the cost of the Galaxy smartphone that operates it.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)’s Oculus Rift VR headset also weighs roughly one pound. While that may seem relatively light for a person in good health, weight can be a problem for elderly patients.

For now, Kim’s company One Caring Team has teamed up with the Virtual World Society to work jointly on the goal of using VR to promote social good worldwide.

Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

Posted-In: npr One Caring Team Sonya KimNews Health Care Tech Media General Best of Benzinga


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