Research

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Ageing-in-Place

Virtual Reality Enhanced Psychosocial Training and Rehabilitation for the Elderly

PI: Prof Miao Chunyan

Background

Psychosocially impaired elderly often suffer from functional limitations which impede independent community living. Rehabilitation is the process in which they regain the necessary skills to re-integrate back into the community and can therefore age in place.

Aims

The specific aims of this proposal are (i) to develop a virtual reality (VR) psychosocial rehabilitation platform, (ii) to conduct studies to evaluate task accomplishment performances in VR and in real world, and (iii) to gather feedback from elderly users on the acceptability and tolerability of a VR rehabilitation module.

Methodology

Broadly, this proposal consists of 3 phases. Phase 1 spells out the design features of the prototype while phase 2 describes prototype development. In phase 3, we will conduct human studies to evaluate aims (ii) and (iii). In this phase, 2 groups of elderly participants – psychosocially impaired individuals and healthy controls – will be recruited and experience the VR prototype. All participants will be assessed on functional task performance as well as performance in the VR setting.

Importance and Relevance

A VR rehabilitation platform has several benefits. It permits an individual to undergo evaluation and training across a wide range of scenarios without the usual constraints of environment and manpower. It also provides the individual and the therapist the option of tailoring the rehabilitation programme to cater to his/her specific community needs. Ultimately, we believe that the proposed platform will improve psychosocial rehabilitation outcomes and thus help the elderly to age in place.