February 8, 2023

How to Implement Virtual Reality in Senior Living

8 minute read
A graphic of tools to represent software for assisted living communities

Virtual reality (VR) is an innovative technology revolutionizing how seniors experience their world. From reducing boredom and loneliness to enhancing cognitive function and physical dexterity, virtual reality has many benefits for senior living facilities.

In this blog post, we will explore why VR is interesting and why seniors would like it, as well as the health and well-being benefits of VR for seniors and how a facility can start implementing VR into their daily routines.

Why is VR Appealing to Seniors?

Virtual reality technology has come a long way since its inception and is now much more accessible and user-friendly. 

With VR, seniors can explore new and exciting places, meet new people, and engage in activities they may not have been able to enjoy otherwise. 

For example, they can travel to far-off destinations, participate in interactive games and activities, or attend virtual concerts and performances. Providing a sense of excitement, adventure, and purpose.

Or, they can also take a trip down memory lane and re-experience the world they grew up in with some VR rooms that showcase historical places and events.

Health and Well-Being Benefits of VR for Seniors

In addition to its entertaining qualities, virtual reality has numerous health and well-being benefits for seniors. 

VR can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve cognitive function, and increase physical dexterity. Additionally, VR can provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose, which can help improve self-esteem and overall mental health.

For seniors with mobility issues, VR can be a safe and accessible way to participate in physical activities, such as yoga, dance, or sports. This can help improve their physical health, coordination, and balance. Additionally, VR can provide opportunities for socialization, which can help reduce isolation and loneliness and improve their overall well-being.

How to Start Implementing VR in a Senior Living Facility

If you are interested in implementing VR in your senior living facility, here are a few steps to get started:

#1 – Choose a VR Platform

Many VR platforms are available, including the Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR. Choose one that best fits your budget and resource.

#2 – Assess the Needs of Your Residents

Before you start, consider the needs and preferences of your residents. What do they like to do, what are their physical and cognitive abilities, and what are their health and wellbeing goals? 

This information will help you select the most appropriate VR activities for your residents.

You can also put out a poll to better understand what folks are looking for. Remember, many seniors may be initially apprehensive about the idea as it may be a very foreign concept.

#3 – Set up a VR Area

You will need to create a designated space for VR activities, such as a lounge or activity room. This space should be comfortable, quiet, and well-lit, with enough room for residents to move freely.

#4 – Train Staff

Your staff will need to be trained to use the VR equipment and help residents with the VR experience. This can include setting up the equipment, assisting with the headset, and helping residents navigate the VR world.

#5 – Start with Simple Activities

When you first introduce VR to your residents, start with simple activities that are easy to understand and participate in. As they become more comfortable with VR, you can gradually introduce more complex activities.

#6 – Access Content Made for Seniors

There are now senior-specific VR companies with a mission to build valuable content for seniors that can take them back in time to new destinations or provide brand-new experiences. Here are four companies building experiences for retirees:


Virtual reality has numerous benefits for senior living facilities, including reducing boredom and loneliness, improving cognitive function and physical dexterity, and enhancing overall health and well-being.

With its user-friendly and accessible nature, virtual reality is a perfect way for seniors to explore new and exciting places, engage in interactive activities, and participate in physical and social activities. 

To start implementing VR in a senior living facility, choose a VR platform, assess the needs of residents, set up a VR area, train staff, start with simple activities, and then find senior-focused content. By incorporating VR into seniors' daily routines, facilities can provide a fun and engaging experience that will benefit their residents in numerous ways.

And, for those wondering how this will affect the bottom line. This is still a new and developing area; it’s likely to be a small number of assisted living facilities that deploy Virtual Reality experience. This means that communities will stand out in the minds of prospective residents and their families as forward-thinking, resident-centric facilities. We believe this is an advantage worth pursuing

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