MyndVR, a health and wellness company creating virtual reality (VR) solutions for adults 55-plus, is proving that its proprietary VR solution and customized content has a powerful impact. Over the past year, the company has been conducting a large-scale, nationwide pilot involving several hundred participants in senior living communities in New York, California, Texas, Florida and Kansas. During the pilot, MyndVR and community teams observed mood improvement, reductions in feelings of isolation, triggering of memories, an increased sense of connection, and lifted spirits among participants. Residents across the continuum of care, from independent living to those with diagnoses including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, macular degeneration and Parkinson’s disease participated in the pilot. Many residents cried tears of joy while viewing the unique content, and some felt relief from symptoms of their disease.
MyndVR integrated its technological, care and compassion findings from the pilot into its Mynd MomentumTM solution. The company plans a commercial launch in the first quarter of 2018 as well as clinical trials in coordination with the MyndVR cognitive science board throughout next year.
“We are encouraged by the success of this national pilot. It is fascinating to see how residents respond as memories flood back,” said Chris Brickler, CEO and co-founder of MyndVR. “Prior to the pilot, we spent six months collaborating with The University of Texas at Dallas and Samsung to engineer the virtual reality platform and customize it for users 55-plus. Through our findings, we know what content works best for this audience, and we are continuing to film fresh and new original content which appeals to them.”
A recent pilot at The Golden Inn and Village in San Ynez, Calif. provided multiple doses of virtual reality to a wide variety of residents across the continuum of care. The Rona Barrett Foundation, a nonprofit that helps low-income seniors, operates all programs and care services for the Golden Inn and Village. The foundation is in partnership with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara and Surf Development Company. Rona Barrett, former television personality and author, noticed that the residents loved the videos which included music and animals. They were singing, dancing and laughing, and Barrett believes the feel-good content allows seniors to escape and enjoy a reality they may not experience otherwise.
“I have never seen so many seniors as joyful as they were while experiencing MyndVR. For some it was a real adventure,” Barrett said. “The residents were happy, and those feelings continued long after they removed the goggles. I had the best time watching them interact with the device and content. It really changed their lives. MyndVR is truly an asset for older adults. I have been an advocate for seniors for the last 20 years, and it was my father who inspired me to give back. He had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and I know he would have loved virtual reality. I’m so happy we provided this innovative technology to our residents and represented Central California in this pilot.”
“Most of our residents left the pilot wanting more,” said Anna Widling, director of programs and wellness services at The Golden Inn and Village. “I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I enjoyed watching the reactions from the residents. I remember one resident whose mood really changed when using it. She loves animals, and when she played with the animals virtually she became more relaxed and cheerful. It was heartwarming to see how this improved the moods of many residents. MyndVR was very popular, and we look forward to working with the company in the future.”
Janell Wohler is an administrator at Linn Community Nursing Home in Linn, Kan., where skilled nursing and memory care residents participated in a recent pilot. Wohler noticed residents were reminiscing and in better moods while using the technology. Wohler was amazed by the unique menus and gaze-based navigation, which allowed the residents to use their eyes to select content and move through the experiences.
“We were very pleased with the pilot,” said Wohler. “It really lifted the residents’ spirits, and the energy in the room was amazing. Residents with reduced mobility experienced activities they normally cannot, and many described it as an out-of-body feeling. One woman put on the goggles and started laughing out loud. She was fishing and started talking about outdoor activities she used to do with her family years ago. Another resident who has mild dementia cried tears of joy while conducting an orchestra. She used to teach music and started talking about her former students. After seeing their reactions, I am confident that this is another tool we need in our toolbox to make a positive difference in the lives of seniors.”
At Encore at Avalon Park Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Orlando, Fla., residents laughed, cried and tapped their feet as they played with animals, went scuba diving and sang in a New York club. Executive Director Kimberly Edwards says memory care residents really enjoyed all the experiences, and their emotions changed for the better.
“It was fascinating to see how the residents reacted to the different videos,” said Edwards. “One resident remembered the times when she raised puppies in her youth, and she was having the best time playing with them virtually and telling us about her childhood. Some residents living with dementia responded with excitement when seeing the VR goggles after the first use. It was truly remarkable to hear. We can envision using MyndVR when families visit. We can have the spouse or other family members try out the technology so they have a better understanding of how this is helping assisted living and memory care residents in a therapeutic way. Then, the resident can go through the experience, and the family can bond together afterward. There are so many possibilities!”
MyndVR is currently accepting presales for its virtual reality solution for senior living communities nationwide. If you are interested in learning more, please visit www.myndvr.com