Montco retirement community using virtual reality programs to take older adults to new places

EngageVR creates a totally immersive experience through both sight and sound where residents also learn about nature.

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Virtual reality programs taking older adults to new places
A Watermark retirement community in Montgomery County is utilizing virtual reality to help engage older adults.

BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Blue Bell resident Barbara Lulejian is about to go for a walk in the meadow thanks to one of Watermark's signature programs for community life.

"Blue Bell Place offers EngageVR and we incorporate virtual reality into the programs that we offer here," says Cindy Franklin, Community Life Director at Blue Bell Place.

On this day, the group is going on a nature trek. Users navigate their new environment with just a push of a button.

While using the program, Franklin says various things can happen right in front of their eyes, like growing a tree.

Lulejian says it took a while to get used to using the technology, but after some practice, the virtual reality world they could view was "gorgeous."

"So one person uses the headset, the other people have it cast onto the TV," says Franklin.

She says users can see butterflies and flowers blooming in the meadow.

"You feel like you want to reach right out and touch them," says Lulejian. "And they were like real up close."

She called the experience of walking through the virtual meadow "amazing."

On this nature trek, you can choose your locale.

"There's all kinds of opportunities," says Franklin.

Users can choose to walk through places like the meadow or the beach, as well as many other settings.

It creates a totally immersive experience through both sight and sound. Residents also learn about nature.

Franklin says the virtual reality experience is something that is "new and it's exciting" for residents.

"The EngageVR can increase socialization, because other people can share their experience with the technology," says Franklin. "And it's just a wonderment."

Blue Bell Place resident Joan King also tried out the technology.

"Everything looks more animated," says King.

She says she saw a lot of nature, along with some animals that included "little, tiny rabbits."

Janice A. Spivack, another Blue Bell Place resident, called the virtual reality experience "wonderful."

"Because you're physically doing something and your brain is thinking at the same time," says Spivack.

"It's just expanding your horizons," says Lulejian.

For more information:

Blue Bell Place | Senior Living in Blue Bell, PA

EngageVR | Watermark Retirement Communities


Blue Bell Place

777 Dekalb Pike

Blue Bell, PA 19422