Virtual tourism for older adults living in residential care: A mixed-method feasibility study

Published: 16 April 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/cxygw32v67.1
Contributor:
Alexandra Fiocco

Description

This pilot study examined the effects of VR tourism exposure on indices of psychosocial wellbeing among older adults living in residential care. Using a mixed-methods study design, 18 older adults were exposed to VR tourism three times a week, over six weeks. Participants reported decreased anxiety and fatigue immediately following exposure, and increased social engagement and quality of life following six weeks of VR tourism. Qualitative data offered additional insight on the process by which VR tourism may enhance wellbeing. Findings suggest that immersive VR tourism may be a viable program for older adults in residential care.

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Quality of life was measured at pre-VR tourism program assessment and at post-VR tourism program assessment using the Older People’s Quality of Life Questionnaire (OPQOL-35; Bowling, 2009). Social Engagement was measured at pre-VR tourism program assessment and at post-VR tourism program assessment using the Social Engagement Scale (SES; adapted from Krueger et al. (2009). Depressive symptoms were measured at pre-VR tourism program assessment and at post-VR tourism program assessment using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS; Sheikh and Yesavage et al. 1986). Assessment of momentary affect in response to VR exposure was measured using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) consisting of three dimensions of affect: unhappy/happy, bored/engaged, and anxious/relaxed. Cybersickness in response to immersive VR exposure was assessed using a modified version of the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ; Kennedy et al. 1993). Six items of the original 16-item questionnaire were chosen (general discomfort, nausea, fatigue, headache, eye strain, and dizziness) to minimize burden of reporting over the 6-week program.