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Virtual Reality As A Means To Meet The Specific Needs of Seniors

Věra Suchomelová
Faculty of Theology, University of South Bohemia

This paper introduces the last stage of the VIREAS project (Virtual Reality in Keeping the Elderly Active) and its main results. The essence of this stage is a qualitative study carried out in January 2021 in a nursing home. We were looking for the main benefits of the virtual experience. The research sample consisted of 12 participants aged 63 to 100, with different cognitive and sensory-motor levels. We found that a properly designed virtual experience combined with adequate communication during the virtual session can support the fulfillment of various needs. These are the need for self-esteem and value, the need for meaning and continuity of life story, the need to be part of a community (this involves the need to be among people and be in contact with the outside world), and the need to transcend everyday life. All the benefits can be prolonged in group or individual activities following the virtual experience. Based on the findings, we defined aspects of the meaningful involvement of VR in activity programs In the nursing home. Our findings will be used in a conceptual manual for activity coordinators as one of the main results of the VIREAS project.



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