The Use of Cinematic 3D VR Leisure Activities for Improved Engagement and Well-being of Persons Living with Dementia—a Pilot Study
Keywords:Dementia, Virtual Reality, Long-term Care
Enabling people living with dementia (PLWD) to engage in meaningful activities throughout their day requires time, energy, and resources from those who support and care for them. The use of virtual reality (VR) products is growing in popularity to assist in the care of PLWD. Entrepreneurs who develop VR products for use by PLWD are promoting their products with claims that VR interventions can improve well-being and quality of life; however, most lack evidence to back these claims. Thus, before recreation therapists working in long-term care settings invest or subscribe to these interventions, a more detailed understanding of their effectiveness is required. To evaluate the effectiveness of a Cinematic 3D VR intervention on improved alertness, positive affect, psychosocial well-being, mood, and behaviour patterns for PLWD in a designated supportive living facility. An exploratory case study design was used to address the specific study objectives. The outcomes were assessed using observations during the intervention combined with pretest-posttest methods, secondary analysis of data, and surveys. Data collection took place over a total of seven weeks—two weeks pre-intervention, three weeks intervention, and two weeks post-intervention. Nineteen residents, three family members, and three care staff members participated in the study. Residents who participated in the Cinematic 3D VR intervention were significantly less likely to display behaviours such as sadness, depression, and reduced social interactions. When these behaviours did occur, they were more easily altered. Significantly, these effects endured into the two-week post-intervention period.