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Gainesville assisted living facilities introduces virtual reality

Categories: Media

Assisted living residents in Gainesville knocked travel off their bucket lists and relived old memories. Oak Hammock at the University of Florida offers a virtual reality experience weekly for its residents. The goggles help those who are experiencing loneliness or memory issues.

Kay Coons used to do a lot of traveling with her husband. The last trip they took together was over five years ago. Thanks to new technology at Oak Hammock at the University of Florida, she can reminisce on old adventures and go on new ones at the same time.

Residents here can use the VR goggles to do experiences like hot air balloon rides, skydiving, or travel anywhere in the world. The 89-year-old outs on virtual reality goggles and tells them where she wants to go. Coons revisits the church she was married in back in 1954, her old home, and some of her favorite travel spots.

With the 360 views of different experiences and google maps, Coons feels like she’s there. Chrissy Smoak is the life enrichment manager at Oak Hammock at the University of Florida. The goggles help residents in the assisted living facility who are experiencing loneliness or memory issues.

Smoak entails, “when you put those on and it’s in a calm setting, it’s an amazing thing to see how it turns people’s day around.”

She believes the experience is not only rewarding to the residents but also for her. She says, “there are people in their 90s who tell me they’ve always wanted to visit the aurora borealis, and I was able to make that happen for them.”

Residents are now able to participate in this activity on a weekly basis.

(Article/Video posted on October 20th, 2021 by WUFT News – Gabriella Mercurio and Charlene Medders)