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Consider: Aging in a Virtual World

Once upon a time, in a language far, far away…We used terms like long distance, remote, and telepresence to describe services and experiences that were taking place somewhere else. We were guided on how to cope with these remote processes where we were not present to manage or experience. And for the care recipients being managed, they were unable to communicate problems in their on-site, 'real' experience. Consider dementia care and the still-startling lack of cameras in these settings – despite family willingness to pay. These limitations seem so yesterday.  Even a telepresence player like Beam threw in the towel and refers to the world it now navigates as ‘virtual.’   Let's take a longer look into this virtual world as it relates to care of older adults and consider such offerings as:

  • Virtual dementia tour. This is a training program developed by Second Wind Dreams that can help family and professional caregivers better understand what it is like to have dementia. It is now offered in senior living communities for families of residents with Alzheimer’s, as well as in home care.
  • Virtual senior living.  Attempting to bridge the gap between living at home and in a senior living community, CCRCs like Life Enriching Communities offer coordinated services for seniors still at home for a small fee -- these services are sometimes referred to as 'virtual' -- thinking back to the Evangelical Homes of Michigan, which pioneered the concept of offering services in the community outside the brick-and-mortar facilities. Also called virtual retirement communities, this concept also morphed into virtual villages and became the so-called village movement, now part of the Village to Village Network.

 

[NOTE: If you are reading this in email, please read it on the website: Aging in Place Technology Watch]