MyndVR, a tech, health and wellness company that provides virtual reality (VR) solutions for thousands of older adults across the country, is now impacting the lives of veterans. The nationally-known company focuses on improving the lives, cognitive outcomes and overall health of seniors and is pleased to announce a new partnership with Long Island State Veterans living with PTSD, depression, dementia and other age-related diseases. This is MyndVR’s first partnership with a veterans home. Therapists and other team members at the home are noticing that the veterans are experiencing improvements in their mood, fewer signs of agitation, as well as generally lifted spirits both while using the VR technology and afterward. They can escape reality and enter a virtual world where they can swim with dolphins, watch a professional artist create a masterpiece or sit in the front row for the musical “The Lion King.” These immersive and meaningful experiences are part of MyndVR’s turn-key virtual reality solution, which includes access to content geared toward adults 55-plus both from Mynd’s original content library and through an exclusive partnership with Littlstar, one of the largest aggregators of VR content in the world.
The veterans home, which offers 350 beds to residents ages 55 to 105, uses 10 sets of goggles multiple times a week and offers one-on-one sessions with veterans as needed. As the residents participate, team members follow along on a tablet and can communicate with the veterans as they enjoy their journey. The veterans home is impressed with the technology and reports many benefits. One resident, who has dementia and usually does not speak, went on a tour through Paris and communicated with the tour guide by talking out loud. For another veteran, who doesn’t like to engage in activities, the VR triggered an outpouring of happiness, and witnessing his joy brought his family to tears. Many reminisced and cried, including one veteran who visited a place he hadn’t been in 60 years. He never thought he would go back, but virtual reality allowed him to.
“Since we rolled out this technology, we have seen positive changes with the veterans,” said Jonathan Spier, deputy executive director at Long Island State Veterans Home. “Most of our residents are World War II veterans, so they didn’t know what virtual reality was, but now they do, and it is really picking up steam. This is a multifunctional device that can impact so many different people. We are big into technology here, and I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of care and quality of life for residents, and this does it. Access to MyndVR’s vast content library allows us to individualize the experience for each resident and make it personal. We are bringing the residents into a whole new atmosphere where it is calm and safe. While we offer sessions with psychologists and therapist, we see this technology as another tool in our toolbox to help the residents. MyndVR is onto something here, and we are thrilled to go along for the ride. The technology holds tremendous therapeutic promise.”
The most inspiring experience was for Al Anderson, 72, who suffers from PTSD. He served in Vietnam for two years and returned to help others as a firefighter. He volunteered at the Nesconset Fire Department in Long Island and eventually became chief. He also worked as the chief fire marshal for the township of Smithtown. He has lived at the Long Island State Veterans Home for more than a year and says virtual reality changed his life.
“I was having an episode one night, and they usually leave me depressed and anxious for two or three days,” said Anderson. “The veterans home brought me the virtual reality goggles, and the experience helped me escape the negative feelings. I had the best seats to the Lion King, and it put me in a happy state of mind. I ended my session playing with puppies, and it made me laugh. I felt relaxed and calm. I laid on my bed with my hand over my chest, and that’s exactly how I woke up the next day. All the negative feelings I had went away, and I was able to feel wonderful the next day. It took me out of the PTSD I was in, which isn’t easy to do. Now, every time they offer virtual reality I will be there. I try not to let negativity get in my life 99 percent of the time, but having a dose of virtual reality prevents the one percent from getting in. I’ve seen a lot in my life, many things I don’t like to talk about, but so many people, not just veterans, suffer from PTSD, and I hope they are able to experience this technology as well. I’m not technologically savvy, but this was easy to use and really impacted my life.”
“I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude toward our veterans, and we are proud to partner with Long Island State Veterans Home. The sacrifices of men and women such as these residents allowed me the freedom as an entrepreneur to create this company and provide virtual reality experiences that improve the quality of life for our nation’s heroes,” said Chris Brickler, co-founder and CEO of MyndVR. “We witness firsthand how virtual reality lifts their spirits, reduces agitation, brings back memories and infuses a sense of joy here and in senior living communities from coast to coast. The future of virtual reality is bright, and our goal is to help as many people as we can.”