Many caretakers and family members of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can struggle to understand the experience of living with the conditions.
People living with dementia can often say or do things that make little sense to outsiders – creating a rift between the person with dementia and the people around them.
That’s why video game developers are teaming up with the organization Alzheimer’s Australia to create immersive virtual experiences for both Alzheimer’s patients and their caretakers.
Their goal is to provide a calming, therapeutic experience for people with dementia, while at the same time creating an educational tool for those looking to better understand the perspective of people with the condition.
Games For Dementia Patients
Partnered with multimedia company Opaque Media, Alzheimer’s Australia’s first game prototype is a virtual forest environment which can be controlled with simple gestures.
Designed for gaming platforms such as XBox One, the video game uses sensors to provide a gaming experience without the need of significant hand-eye coordination:
“Just a sway of the arms will make the sun rise or the wind blow through the tress, or even a season change from sunshine to snow; a clap of the hands will cause the leaves to fall or the birds to fly up.” writes Alzheimer’s Australia on their blog(1).
“The aim through the use of this sensory therapy process is to enable people living with dementia to experience a sense of awe, wonder and fun in their everyday lives.”
Games For Caretakers
In combination with the forest game for dementia patients, Alzheimer’s Australia and Opaque Media are also fundraising for the completion and distribution of a game designed for caretakers, friends and family members of people with dementia – anyone with an interest in gaining a better understanding of what it’s like to live with the condition.
The Virtual Dementia Experience contains features such as special filters to simulate visual impairment, and textures designed to simulate the way things like shiny white tiles and busy carpet patterns can appear to those with dementia.
“For some participants, we’ve given then a small window into what their relatives might be experiencing. Even trained caretakers in dedicated facilities can still underestimate the impact aspects of the environment have on people with dementia and ageing-related medical conditions, so this simulation is useful for professionals, including caretakers and facility architects, as well as the general public,” says Opaque Media team leader Norman Wang(2).
Raising Awareness Through Video Games
These aren’t the first games to tackle the subject of raising awareness around medical conditions. In recent years, games like independent developer Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest – a game designed to provide players with insight into what it’s like living with depression and other mental illnesses(3) – have taken casual gameplay by storm.
Still other game developers have taken steps to make video gaming a more accessible experience for people with disabilities. According to a recent study conducted by games studio PopCap, roughly one in five players of casual video games have a disability, be it physical, mental, or developmental(4).
As of 2015, the U.S. Federal Communications Commissions requires that console games include communications options that are accessible to gamers with sensory disabilities(5).
- Here’s How Walking In Nature Can Help Prevent Depression
There’s strong evidence that exposure to nature can improve patients’ recovery time(1), and that short “micro-breaks” spent looking at images …
- Cancer Survivors Finally Have Proof That Chemo Brain Is Real. Here’s What Researchers Are Saying…
Many cancer survivors have spoken and written about the effects of what has been dubbed “chemo brain” – a spacey …
- Eating Fatty Foods Help Protect Your Brain Against Diseases Like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
The human brain is truly a marvelous thing! Scientists understand only a fraction of what the brain is capable of …
- According To This Study, Your Blood Type Could Influence Your Chances of Developing Alzheimer’s
Many people worry about the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease, especially those with a family history of it. Now, recent …
- 3 Surprising Foods That Help You Burn Fat (No. 2 Is Definitely Something You’ll Want To Try!)
Losing weight is something many people struggle with, but it doesn’t have to be a constant battle. By boosting your …
- Muscle Supplements Like Creatine or Androstenedione Increases Your Risk of Testicular Cancer
Supplements are all the rage these days! From vitamin supplements for normal people to multivitamins for pregnant mothers to protein …
- Two Minutes of Walking For Each Hour Spent Sitting Can Drastically Improve Health, Study Says
We all know that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t ideal, but many people just can’t help it: they have jobs that …
- With Less Than a Year Left of Water Supply, California Wants To Turn Sea Water Into Drinking Water
According to experts like Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California is currently experiencing …
- Researchers Discover That Diet Rich In Fruits And Veggies Gives You Stronger, Healthier Bones
According to the University of Michigan and the Alberta Bone and Joint Institute, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables …
- Sleep Apnea Responsible For Early Memory Loss And Cognitive Decline, Study Finds
It’s a well-documented fact that sleep is good for your brain. When you sleep: Your brain is able to consolidate …
- Alzheimer’s Disease May Start Long Before Even The Earliest Symptoms Become Apparent
When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, early detection can make a huge difference in determining the course of a patient’s …
- Tainted Cilantro is Making People Sick Because of Where It’s Being Grown And Now It’s Been Banned
Cilantro is one of those herbs that offer a host of benefits. But be careful of where it comes from! According …
- Never Cook Your Steak This Way…It Increases Your Risk of Developing Dementia!
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have linked diabetes with Alzheimer’s …
- The Length of Your Telomeres Could Be Key To Early Cancer Detection
Cancer research is constantly pushing not only for cures and treatments for various types of cancer, but also for ways …
- Researchers Discover Unique Method To Turn Human Blood Samples Into Nerve Cells!
Canadian researchers are breaking new ground with a recent discovery. They’ve uncovered a way to transform simple blood cell samples …