Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Journal Article

From 65 to 103, Older Adults Experience Virtual Reality Differently Depending on Their Age: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Study in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

There is growing interest in applications of virtual reality (VR) to improve the lives of older adults, but the limited research on older adults and VR largely treats older adults as a monolith, ignoring the substantial differences across 65 to 100+ year olds that may affect their experience of VR. There are also few existing studies examining the experiences and challenges facing those who facilitate VR for older adults (e.g., caregiving staff). We address these limitations through two studies. In study 1, we explore variation within older adults’ experiences with VR through a field study of VR use among a large (N= 245) and age-diverse (Mage = 83.6 years, SDage = 7.9, range = 65–103 years) sample of nursing home and assisted living facility residents across 10 U.S. states. Age was negatively associated with the extent to which older adults enjoyed VR experiences. However, the negative relationship between age and older adults’ attitudes toward VR was significantly less negative than the relationship between age and their attitudes toward other technologies (cell phones and voice assistants). In study 2, we surveyed caregiving staff (N= 39) who facilitated the VR experiences for older adult residents and found that the caregiving staff generally enjoyed the activity relative to other activities and felt it to be beneficial to their relationship with residents.

View PDF

Ryan Moore
J T Hancock
J N Bailenson
Journal Name
Publication Date
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.