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The Legacy Willow Bend and Mynd Bring Virtual Reality to Seniors

Virtual reality is not just for young gamers, it can also pique the interest and have a positive impact on seniors. In a field trial currently underway at The Legacy Willow Bend retirement community, residents feel as if they are literally transported to another place and time, providing a sense of happiness and joy that could result in health benefits. The Legacy Willow Bend recently teamed up with Mynd Virtual Reality to host the Dallas-based company’s first field trial of its exclusive, research-based wellness and entertainment content. As many as 20 residents are participating in the virtual reality trial at all levels of care, including independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. The Legacy Senior Communities, parent organization of The Legacy Willow Bend, is dedicated to bringing innovation to its residents, and this venture provides opportunities to engage them in a unique way, both intellectually and emotionally.

“The trial is demonstrating a variety of benefits for the residents, and it even brought some to tears because of the joy they felt. In one case, a resident living with Alzheimer’s exhibited personality traits she had prior to the diagnosis, including dancing, smiling and singing. In addition, one resident felt relief from symptoms of Parkinson’s,” said Marilyn Israel, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. “The overall response has impressed everyone involved.”

“We were honored when MyndVR asked us to participate, and the trial allows us to bring an innovative experience to our residents,” said Brian Barnes, interim CEO and CFO/COO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “Virtual reality has the potential to be a part of our programming as a form of clinical treatment or entertainment in the future, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration to explore this new technology.”

In this initial field trial for MyndVR, each participant uses virtual reality equipment to take them through a number of different interactive environments. The immersive activity sparks engagement and a sense of contentment among many of the residents.

“We are extremely passionate about providing seniors with a new genre of recreational and therapeutic experiences, and we are thrilled with the response from the residents in the field trial,” said Chris Brickler, co-founder of MyndVR. “Our goal is to put smiles on faces, and we have seen that happen time and time again. We are gaining valuable feedback and information that will help us fine tune what we can offer in the future. Our next step is to hold clinical trials that include brain scans to show how our unique content and technology creates emotional connections and establish the basis for prescriptive digital therapy.”

“MyndVR is much more than entertainment. We are really looking to improve the lives and overall health and cognitive outcomes for seniors,” said Shawn Wiora, co-founder of MyndVR. “We are building a world-class scientific advisory board that includes leading technologists and brain scientists from The University of Texas at Dallas and several other research institutions to guide the creation of our exclusive, certified content. The future is bright for seniors using MyndVR.”

The Legacy Willow Bend will continue to work with MyndVR on an ongoing basis to test new components or content as it is developed.

Watch Mynd’s video here: