Voyaging via virtual reality by Marilynn Larkin, MA
Excited by growing scientific evidence that virtual reality (VR) is a useful tool for cognitive and physical rehabilitation, I was eager to look at VR programs that are being marketed directly to the active-aging industry for use with residents. While none have yet undergone rigorous large-scale studies, one in particular has been piloted in multiple settings, and will soon be tested in a Harvard University-led study. Rendever, said to "give older adults a window to parts of the world that they're missing," is notable in that it was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students who won a USD$25,000 Healthcare Innovations prize for the program in 2017. Maplewood Senior Living, which owns and operates 14 senior living communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio, is among the first to pilot Rendever. I recently talked with Maplewood's Brian Geyser, APRN-BC, MSN, vice president of Clinical Innovation and Population Health, about the program, why he decided to deploy it and what the outcomes are so far.