A walk along the beach and a trip to the Transporter Bridge were just some of the locations residents at Anchor’s Middlesbrough Grange care home were able to see without even leaving the comfort of their armchairs.

Virtual reality (VR) technology allowed the Middlesbrough Grange residents to travel to some of their favourite locations and places they’ve not visited for years. 

North East based company Reminiscience held the VR therapy session at Middlesbrough Grange care home in Ormseby as a taster session and now the staff and residents can’t wait for more.

The residents’ likes and interests were taken into account before they were given a VR film tailored to their personal choices.

The films are shot in 360 degrees to make the experience more immersive. Headsets are then placed over the residents’ eyes so they can glance in any direction to get a different view.

Jack Brinn, one of the Co-Founders at Reminiscience, said: “Before we begin a session we talk to the participant and find out what they like.

 “We know older residents like to see images of their own towns and the places they liked to visit in their earlier years.

“Initially, we filmed around Newcastle and Northumberland and then we expanded and started filming across Teesside, at the Hartlepool headland, the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, the beaches at Redcar and Seaton Carew, among hundreds of other places.

“The improvements in VR technology allow participants to see a 360-degree picture, providing a really immersive experience.”

Resident Dick, who grew up in Hartlepool was able to visit some place he’d not seen in years: “Ah that’s my country” he declared with pride as he viewed some of Hartlepool’s most well-known sights.

Bev Grimes, home manager at Middlesbrough Grange care home, said: “It’s great to be able to try new activities with our residents, to hear their feedback and see the smiles on their faces was priceless.  

“We’ve been using iPads as part of our activities for a while now so we’re always looking at new technology that could enhance reminiscence sessions and this certainly fit the bill.  

“We’re looking forward to more sessions and hope we’ll unearth some great stories and memories from our residents.”

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