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Can Virtual Reality Help with Loneliness in Older Adults?

Abbegail Winger

Account Executive,

Rendever, Inc.

June 24, 2023

What Causes Isolation in Older Adults?

Moving from home to a senior living community can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Not only for the Older Adults but for their family as well. However, once settled into a community the stress and anxiety from the move can transform into feelings of loneliness.

With Social isolation being tied to a 30% increase in mortality rates amongst older adults it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Social Isolation is also tied to a 50% increase in risk of dementia, a 30% increase in risk of heart disease and stroke, and is linked to depression, anxiety, and risk of suicide.

Research has even shown that social isolation is as detrimental to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

How Does Virtual Reality Reduce Isolation in Seniors?

Virtual Reality has recently become popular amongst those over the age of 65. With the help of Rendever, a platform that was designed for older adults living in Senior Living communities, lives have been transformed at Senior Living Communities all across North America.

By taking Seniors through Virtual Reality experiences in group settings to sought after vacation destinations, bucket list activities, and even back in time to their childhood home; dramatic changes were seen.

Multiple studies have found the quality of one’s social structure to be among the biggest predictors of longevity for older adults. If we can overcome social isolation, we can increase users’ lifespans, and increase the length of stay for residents in senior living.

The foundation of human connection is positive shared experiences. Trust is a fundamental element in human relationships, and its neurochemical equivalent is oxytocin – which we commonly understand as the human connection hormone. If we can increase trust, we’re delivering on better human connection and providing a non-pharmacological antidote to social isolation.

How is Virtual Reality Effectiveness Measured?

In a senior living community, after just two weeks of daily usage of Rendever, users had statistically significant decreases in their depression scores and increases in multiple measures of social health, including trust.

● Despite popular societal misconceptions about tech adoption for seniors, in a formal study of residents of senior living communities rated the technology as easy to use.

● In an independent ROI-analysis study, Rendever led to a 33% increase in resident satisfaction scores for the senior living community.

      ○ In the same study, 100% of participants saw a statistically significant improvement in their social network scores, with 83% increasing the size of                        their social network and 83% increasing their own attendance in other community events.

● Multiple studies have shown Rendever significantly decreases depression scores in a variety of senior living settings.

● Multiple studies have found that Rendever significantly decreases pain levels and the degree to which pain interferes with activities.

● In a first-of-its-kind pilot study, Rendever removed the need for opioid administration during a routine medical procedure for 96% of participants.

● Rendever is currently in the midst of data collection for a first-of-its-kind clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Aging. The results from Phase I were so positive, they gave us the greenlight to move into a clinical trial even though data collection on the pilot was cut short due to COVID-19. The results are expected mid 2024.

Using Virtual Reality can dramatically change how a senior feels about living in a community.  With lowered feelings of isolation and increases to connection and happiness, everyone wins.

The proof is in these amazing videos.  Enjoy!