Bringing The Outdoors Indoors: Immersive Experiences of Recreation in Nature and Coastal Environments in Residential Care Homes
Keywords:immersive experience, virtual reality, multisensory, recreation, nature, health
AbstractThis paper critiques the opportunities afforded by immersive experience technology to create stimulating, innovative living environments for long-term residents of care homes for the elderly. We identify the ways in which virtual mobility can facilitate reconnection with recreational environments. Specifically, the project examines the potential of two assistive and immersive experiences; virtual reality (VR) and multisensory stimulation environments (MSSE). Findings identify three main areas of knowledge contribution. First, the introduction of VR and MSSE facilitated participants re-engagement and sharing of past experiences as they recalled past family holidays, day trips or everyday practices. Secondly, the combination of the hardware of the VR and MSSE technology with the physical objects of the sensory trays created alternative, multisensual ways of engaging with the experiences presented to participants. Lastly, the clear preference for the MSSE experience over the VR experience highlighted the importance of social interaction and exchange for participants.
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