Virtual reality is a new industry that has attracted all generations – from children to the elderly. But like with almost any technology and industry, every generation has its needs. When it comes to VR, the needs of the elderly will differ from other generations.
VR has started as a trend to experience video games in a new way, but it is being developed into something much more.
It is now possible for the elderly to socialize and live new experiences with VR. It even allows them to stay mentally and physically fit not only by allowing them to play games but also by giving them an outlet for staying in touch with the world.
The elderly can now have new experiences with VR – they just need to pick the best VR for seniors to suit their needs!
And that’s what we’re going to help you with in this article.
Oculus Go Standalone VR
What Do Seniors Need in a VR Headset?
Since not all the elderly will be up to date with the latest technology and VR, there are some important considerations that you need to make before you choose the best VR for seniors.
Here’s a list of features that you need to watch out for when choosing a headset for the elderly.
Simplicity and Ease of Use
Perhaps the first thing you need to consider when choosing a VR headset for the elderly is how easy to use it.
Ideally, the headset should not have the advanced “bells and whistles” that come with more premium and expensive VRs. Rather, the headset that you choose for the elderly should be simple and easy to use.
This also means that there should not be additional features that would complete the experience. Just the VR and possibly some controllers should be more than enough for the elderly to stay entertained.
That’s why standalone VR headsets are probably the best option for seniors. That’s because they don’t require additional hardware such as computers to run, and they also don’t come with unnecessary, complicated features.
Another crucial consideration that you should take is how comfortable the VR is to wear. Ideally, it should be lightweight and comfortable so that the seniors feel comfortable while using the headset.
Some headsets can be quite heavy (in terms of weight), so this might not be ideal for seniors. These are not comfortable for the neck and the spine, so opt for headsets that are lighter in weight.
The headset should also offer adjustable features and settings. You should easily be able to adjust the size and the width of the headset to easily fit every head that is using the VR headset, no matter how big or small.
Best VR Headsets for Seniors
Here are the best choices when it comes to VR headsets for seniors.
Best Overall: Oculus Quest 2
Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-In-One Virtual Reality HeadsetTitle
- Next-level Hardware
- All-In-One Gaming
- Immersive Entertainment
- Premium Display
- Ultimate Control
The number one spot for the best VR for seniors goes to Oculus Quest 2. It is, without a doubt, the best standalone VR experience for anyone looking to try their hand with VR. It’s also an amazing headset for the elderly, whether they have some experience with this technology or absolutely none at all.
The best thing about this headset that makes it worthy for the elderly is the overall package. It’s comfortable, light, wireless, and it doesn’t require additional hardware to run. In addition, it’s also relatively affordable and it offers many interesting apps to use for the elderly.
The overall visual and audio experience is also at a high level with Oculus Quest 2. It has a refresh rate of 90Hz and a resolution of 1832 x 1920 per eye, providing seniors with an exceptional audio-visual experience.
For seniors, setting up the Quest 2 might be a tad difficult since it requires a Facebook account to set up. However, the good thing about that is that nowadays, even many seniors possess an account on this social media site. Otherwise, this VR headset cannot be recommended enough even for seniors.
- Standalone VR headset that doesn’t require additional hardware
- Exceptional audio-visual experience
- Comfortable to use
- Relatively affordable
- Requires a Facebook account to set up
Best Smartphone VR for Seniors: BNext VR Headset
BNext VR Headset For Smartphones
- VR smartphone compatibility
- Advanced VR gaming technology
- Comfortable, extended wear design
- Offers FD and OD adjustments
- Immersive visual 360 degree experience
If you don’t like the idea of a standalone VR headset and would prefer a phone-based headset, then the BNext VR headset could be a great option for you. It’s suitable for both iPhone and Android users and it brings the VR experience to the elderly regardless of the type of phone they have.
A mobile VR is also a great choice for seniors. While it won’t allow you to play games like the Quest 2, for example, a mobile VR will still bring you a great experience. Seniors will be able to watch videos, go on adventures, and stay mentally engaged with some interesting VR apps for mobile phones.
The great thing about this VR is that it’s affordable and versatile. It will work with just about any phone out there. At the same time, it’s also lightweight and can be used anywhere since it doesn’t have any wires.
That being said, you will compromise on the high standards set by the Quest 2 if you decide on this VR. You won’t be able to play games or use advanced apps with this headset. At the same time, it’s not nearly as technically advanced, but it still provides a great entry-level VR experience for seniors.
- Simple and straightforward to use
- Provides interesting experiences for seniors
- Works for both Apple and Android users
- Not as advanced as other VR headsets
Best Alternative VR for Seniors: Oculus Go
Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset
- Personal Viewing
- Viewing with Friends
- Portable & Easy to Use
- Built-In Audio
- Controller: Effortless control
If you’re looking for an alternative for the Quest 2 or the BNext headset, then you can also consider the Oculus Go headset.
This headset has been discontinued by Oculus, but it is still widely available on the market. It’s a standalone VR, which is a great thing for the elderly. As such, it will offer seniors a pristine VR experience while also offering some more advanced features such as games and apps.
The best thing about this VR is its lightweight nature. It’s highly portable and comfortable to use, which are both important features for the elderly. It’s also easy to use, although it also requires a Facebook account to set up. This is one small downside of this VR.
Now, compared to Quest 2, it is not as technically advanced as it offers a slightly lower quality of resolution and display quality. But apart from that, it still offers a decent level of experience for the seniors to keep them mentally active.
- Standalone VR
- Portable and lightweight
- Easy to use
- Offers immersive games and apps
- Requires a Facebook account to set up
How Can VR Benefit Seniors?
While you might not think about it, VR is also suitable for seniors and the elderly. It’s a good way to allow them to keep up with the latest technology and also stay in touch with what is happening in the world at the moment.
These are the main benefits of VR for the elderly.
VR Keeps Seniors Mentally Engaged
The first and arguably the biggest advantage of using VR technology for the elderly is that it keeps them mentally engaged.
The cognitive abilities of the elderly often suffer due to a lack of exposure to mentally challenging things in life. This cognitive decline is often hard to reverse and even overcome, so seniors need to find good ways to stay mentally engaged to prevent this decline from happening.
Using VR, seniors can play games that will keep them mentally engaged, which can help slow the cognitive decline that many suffer.
Many other activities might help them stay mentally active. Things like watching movies and documentaries, traveling the world, exploring new things and topics, as well as socializing with other people.
There’s also a wide variety of activities that the elderly can do to stay mentally engaged. For example, some apps allow people to paint in VR, or to play music in VR – both of these can be great activities for the elderly to brush up on their old skills and start thinking again.
It Improves Their Social Life
Talking about the social aspect of VR, it can bring the much-needed socialization that so many seniors crave and lack.
The truth is that far too many elderly people suffer from isolation from society. VR offers interesting opportunities to socialize, both in terms of socializing within apps and games as well as talking about their experiences with other seniors who also use VR.
It’s a great chance for them to meet new and interesting people – even those who might not be in their age range. Who doesn’t like an old person trying our VR for the first time? Many would not hesitate to make friends with them.
It Can Help Improve Their Physical Health
Last but not least, another very important positive aspect of the seniors using VR is that it will help them stay physically fit for longer.
Now, VR alone doesn’t do that. But it does offer activities to the elderly that will help them stay in shape. Things like exercising or playing games that force them to move around can do wonders for their physical health.
Research has shown that exercising while using VR will help the users boost overall physical health as well as decrease the feelings of fatigue and pain. Both of these former factors are crucial for seniors who often suffer from joint and bone pain after exercising.
Above all, staying in shape while using VR is also fun. Many seniors are unwilling to exercise because it’s grueling and boring, but using VR, this aspect of staying physically fit could be made fun.
What are the Best VR Apps for Seniors?
These are some of the best VR apps for seniors to use.
- Google Earth VR – with Google Earth VR, users can experience almost any location in the world and feel as though they are right there. It allows seniors to explore the world, relive the old moments, see places where they used to travel to, and even see new places they have never seen before.
- Wander – Wander is an app similar to Google Earth VR – it just offers a slightly different way of exploring the world. It’s suitable for the elderly who cannot travel. It can even take those who are immobile to new parts of the world that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
- Real VR Fishing – Fishing is one of those fun, relaxing activities that anyone can do to take their minds off the issues of the world. For the elderly, it’s a great way of spending time and trying a new activity or even reliving an old activity they used to do when they were young.
- Rendever – Rendever is an application designed specifically with the elderly in mind. It offers a space for the elderly to socialize and meet new people. The seniors using this app can experience moments and experiences simultaneously, talk about them, and get to know each other.
- Oculus TV – available on the Oculus, this application allows its users to watch television in VR. This includes engaging content such as animations, movies, and educational videos. It’s an app that will allow the elderly to stay mentally in shape while also learning new things.
Virtual reality offers a great way for the elderly to pass away their time and get rid of boredom. It allows them to go through new experiences even at their ages, offering them new games and places in the world to explore.
If used correctly, VR can have many benefits for seniors. The first step will be choosing the right headset for the elderly. Hopefully, we have made your choice easier if you’re looking for the best VR headset for seniors.
Ashtosh is a Senior 3D Modelling & Graphics designer with 11 years of experience specializing in Virtual Reality development, He holds Masters in 3D Visualization from University of Texas and a Certified designer.