"It Makes You Feel That You Are There": Exploring the Acceptability of Virtual Reality Nature Environments for People with Memory Loss
Aim: To report on the acceptability of virtual reality (VR) nature environments for people with memory loss at memory cafes, and explore the experiences and perceptions of carers and staff. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted between January and March 2019. Ten adults with memory loss, eight carers and six volunteer staff were recruited from two memory cafes, located in Cornwall, UK. There were 19 VR sessions which were audio recorded and all participants were interviewed at the end of
... wed at the end of the sessions. Framework analysis was used to identify patterns and themes in the data. Results: During the VR experience, participants were engaged to varying degrees, with engagement facilitated by the researcher, and in some cases, with the help of a carer. Participants responded positively to the nature scenes, finding them soothing and evoking memories. The VR experience was positive; many felt immersed in nature and saw it as an opportunity to 'go somewhere'. However, it was not always positive and for a few, it could be 'strange'. Participants reflected on their experience of the VR equipment, and volunteer staff and carers also shared their perceptions of VR for people with dementia in long-term care settings. Conclusions: The VR nature experience was an opportunity for people with memory loss to be immersed in nature and offered the potential to enhance their quality of life. Future work should build on lessons learned and continue to work with people with dementia in developing and implementing VR technology in long-term care settings.