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'This is something we both enjoy:' VR sets connect neighbors in the Pacific Springs community

It's now been a year since residents at the Pacific Springs community received VR sets.
Posted at 5:36 PM, May 29, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For Marge and Ken Beatty, their "escape" is traveling across the world at their fingertips.

"This is the perfect opportunity to see different places," said Ken.

The Beatty's have been married for over 50 years and did a lot of traveling in their younger years, but as they got older and retired, that became a little harder.

"We planned to travel after we retired," said Marge. "But with two years of the pandemic, we weren't able to make it to all the places we had hoped to go."

That's why they use virtual reality as often as they can to travel to their favorite places. The Rendever virtual reality sets allow seniors to travel, play their favorite games, and explore nature.

Rebecca Weeder with Pacific Springs said the devices have been at the community for a year and said the last year has brought residents together, all sharing a common theme -- bonding over new and old memories.

"Well. a lot since COVID. A lot of the loneliness and isolation that happened during that time.... The company tried to look and see how we could bring the outside world to them," said Weeder.

A National Library of Medicine study shows that VR shows potential to enhance physical, emotional, and social well-being in older adults.

David Stoller with Rendever said the power of VR sets really show when the headsets come off.

"That's when the older adults have the opportunity to turn to one another and talk about the incredible experience that they were able to share," said Stoller.

"This is something we both enjoy doing together because we are quite different people," said Marge. "He quieter and likes to watch the birds. I'm more social and visit with people. But, this is something we can do together."

For the Beatty's, they both feel right at home -- and more connected than ever.