Residents go ‘way back’ with virtual reality app

Residents go ‘way back’ with virtual reality app

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A specialist dementia care home based in Chorley has taken some of its residents back in time to experience past memories, with the help of a virtual reality (VR) app.

Residents at The Lodge, situated within the award-winning Buckshaw Retirement Village, have been using ‘The Wayback’ app, which uses virtual reality, in combination with a film, which has been specifically designed to help people with dementia recall key events.

Currently, there is only one film, which takes people back to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on June 2, 1953. However, developers behind the app are working to create a series of films that ignite fond memories for people who are living with dementia.

Chris Durnan, market square coordinator at The Lodge, said: “The Wayback app is a brilliant concept which has really helped residents engage and think about the past. I think it’s great that the developers have considered accessibility and have included a section on their website that lists conversation starters to help people think about their memories.

“The people behind the app have done a great job in using an event that will be relevant to lots of people and that brings back lots of different, fond memories.”

Lisa Barnes, regional director for the Hica Group, said: “We have used reminiscence-led therapy in the past which has been popular with residents and has shown some great benefits, such as uplifted moods and increased interactivity and engagement.

“The app has definitely bought noticeable difference and it’s been great to see the residents so enthusiastic and talking about their memories.”

Buckshaw is part of The Hica Group, a not for profit organisation, which operates a portfolio of 15 residential care homes across Hull and East Riding, five of which are for people with a learning disability, along with two retirement villages.

The company also runs a care at home service providing approximately 11,500 hours of support and care from four regional offices in the North of England.