We were able to launch a virtual reality program at Northwood, thanks to a grant from the Department of Seniors. We purchased six VR headsets and had 360 degree videos produced from 16 different Nova Scotia landmarks and places of cultural significance.
The videos include a Mi’kmaq smudging ceremony, a tour through a cave in the Ovens Natural Park, a Catholic Church service, a Baptist choir practice, a musical performance inside the Red Shoe Pub in Cape Breton and more. This is an exciting opportunity for people who may not have the ability to visit these places.
The headsets are being used to offer a VR service through Community Recreation & Wellness, but with the potential for use in reminiscence, pain management, leisure and beyond, we can’t wait to see where else this project takes us.
To better understand how this VR service will help with reaching health-related outcomes, we plan to partner with interested researchers and entrepreneurs to learn more about how VR & 360 degree video can improve the lives of older adults and those living with cognitive and physical challenges.
VR for Good
In 2018, we were chosen by Oculus to participate in their VR for Good Creators Lab program. This program teams filmmakers up with not-for-profit organizations to make virtual reality films. We were matched with Katrina Sorrentino and Andrea Patiño, who spent time getting to know the Northwood community and meticulously planning the film, which will aim to change the perceptions that some have about senior living. The film is scheduled to be released by the end of spring 2019.
During the filming process, representatives from Oculus were onsite offering VR demonstrations and training our staff. We would like to thank Oculus for generously giving us five more VR headsets, allowing us to expand our existing program.