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Care home residents taken on out-of-this world adventure in virtual reality

Residents at Bryn y Cae, Brackla and Pantyrawel’s Tŷ Cwm Ogwr care homes have been transported across the world and beyond from the comfort of their own armchair thanks to virtual reality technology.

Thanks to a project delivered by Awen Cultural Trust and Bridgend County Borough Council, residents enjoyed wildlife adventures, space flights and visits to cities across the world.

Funded by Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund ‘Connected Communities’ Grant, the project also worked with Cardiff-based Rescape Innovation to create 12 personalised VR experiences for residents with dementia, aimed at unlocking memories and provoking conversations.

The comments I have received about this project have been heart-warming and uplifting, and demonstrate that people of all ages can enjoy the social and mental wellbeing benefits provided by virtual reality, not just those who typically use new technology.

We are grateful to the funding support from the Welsh Government and BAVO, and look forward to working with the council to roll out this project to other care homes in the future.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust

One Bryn y Cae resident to benefit from the project was 105-year-old Dolly. Originally from the Netherlands, Dolly particularly enjoyed the VR garden experience which reminded her of a time when she cared for a disabled child at a residential home.

It has been heartening to hear how these experiences have allowed the residents to reminisce with their families and each other, and enabled them to become more engaged and involved, particularly during these challenging couple of years.

Reminiscence therapy is proving to be particularly effective for people with dementia, and this is a fantastic example of how we can utilise modern technology to help them to unlock treasured memories and engage with others.

Councillor Jane Gebbie, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help

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