How virtual reality can help people with dementia unlock memories

In the past we have talked about the top apps for the elderly and the top apps specifically for people with dementia. We have even recommended the BBC Reminiscence Archive to help people with dementia unlock memories.

We are big advocates of using the latest technology to help our service users and members of the general public with dementia, which is why we’re supporting the use of virtual reality to help unlock precious memories.

Digital health and wellness company, Virtue creates personalised mobile virtual reality experiences using a smart phone and headset, which can be purchased online or from gaming stores at a relatively affordable price.

Its LookBack VR app is the world’s first platform providing reminiscence experiences designed for the elderly and especially those with dementia.

Users can log on and view footage of historical events, virtually visit a favourite spot from their childhood or create new memories such as taking a virtual ride on a steam engine.

There is also a LookBack Companion App which allows family members or carers to experience what the person with dementia is seeing and a series of questions will be suggested to help them stimulate conversation with the person and help further with reminiscence.

The inspiration for the virtual reality app came from the trend in ‘dementia villages’, which are appearing across Europe, with the first UK village to open in Kent in 2020. However, creating such a village is costly and not possible for most people, so virtual reality is the next best thing and results from use of the app have shown it helps improve cognitive stimulation, communication, mood and well-being in users.