Customer Story: How MyndVR is Using VR Therapy to Transform Senior Care
MyndVR’s passion is providing cutting-edge, impactful, and life-changing senior care. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for older adults through VR healthcare. MyndVR provides VR therapy, social engagement, and recreation through virtual reality in senior care facilities across the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK., stimulating memory and cognition and making therapy fun using their expansive library of senior-friendly immersive experiences.
Senior healthcare settings around the world use MyndVR for their VR healthcare and VR therapy apps. This includes immersive experiences proving resident engagement, digital therapeutics, staff wellness, and training. MyndVR needed a way to reliably manage XR headsets, install and update VR content, and control the user experience remotely. Initially, MyndVR used a legacy mobile device management (MDM) platform but quickly realized there was almost no support for virtual reality or VR therapy apps. In addition, with immersive glasses around the globe, they needed the right tools to manage virtual reality headsets at scale.
Realizing that XR needs dedicated tools to manage devices, content, and user experience, MyndVR updated its entire fleet of XR headsets to run ArborXR. Now, with ArborXR, MyndVR remotely manages XR devices, installs and updates VR content, and controls the VR headset experience for end-users in senior care communities across the world.
COVID, Isolation, and VR Therapy
Isolation, loneliness, and depression are significant issues for seniors in assisted living. Research from the National Institute on Aging has linked social isolation and loneliness to heart disease, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.
Senior care communities are the most vulnerable to these issues, especially those housed in assisted living, skilled nursing, veteran homes, hospice, and convalescent care facilities. COVID magnified this issue in a new way, as seniors were often isolated to their rooms. Because of the crisis COVID created during this time, VR healthcare and VR therapy took off in a new way.
The results? Seniors experienced improved memory, physical rehabilitation, increased exercise, socialization, recreation, engagement, overall mood improvement, and more.
Beyond the initial crisis of the pandemic, seniors continue to struggle with isolation, loneliness, and other health concerns. According to some projections, the population of adults over 65 in the United States will increase to 98 million by 2060, causing tremendous strain on our healthcare system, caretakers, and seniors.
MyndVR seeks to address these challenges through the use of VR therapy or what they call “Digitial Therapeutics.” MyndVR uses virtual reality headsets to provide physical therapy, cognitive therapy, and recreation for seniors in various settings across the world.
Studies have shown that VR therapies help seniors manage pain, improve mood and engagement with caretakers and family, and increase their short-term & long-term memory. Currently, tens of thousands of seniors and caretakers use MyndVR across the United States, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
The Beginning of MyndVR
Chris Brickler, CEO and Co-founder, had a background in Internet networking, TV/Film production, and healthcare. He was at the forefront of creating innovative networks with new technology, building one of the largest commercial IP backbones in the 90s with GTE/Verizon. In the 2000s, he founded an Emmy-nominated new media production studio in Hollywood. In 2015, Brickler officed in Menlo Park across the street from Facebook, next door to a small startup VR company called Oculus.
At that same time, co-founder Shawn Wiora was in Dallas, managing nearly 100 skilled nursing communities. As part of his effort to improve engagement and quality of care, he launched a key program that used music on iPods to address and improve memory issues in senior care. They saw incredible early results, with residents responding powerfully.
Wiora saw firsthand how incorporating immersive experiences, and physical senses could provide real therapeutic experiences.
Brickler continued, “We know from neurological science that music can really stimulate memory, especially in a diseased brain… So, that was the impetus for MyndVR– we began thinking about how we could bring musical performances into virtual reality, adding an extra layer of immersion on top of a form of treatment that showed incredible potential.”
For Brickler and Wiora’s first prototype, they aimed to re-create a 1950s virtual reality musical experience as a recreation therapy for seniors. They reenacted a Frank Sinatra performance of “Fly Me to the Moon”, renting out a nightclub, hiring 30 actors dressed in 1950s garb, and capturing a fully immersive experience. In 2017, they tested this experience in assisted living communities in several states and immediately saw improvements in overall mood and happiness.
The success of this prototype inspired the launch of MyndVR and expanded their focus into many more types of VR Therapy and digital therapeutics.
How MyndVR Works
MyndVR created a VR platform for seniors to enhance their physical, emotional, and mental health. The platform offers a wide range of VR experiences, including memory games, guided meditation, and activities designed to improve strength and range of motion.
VR can be a tool used to help patients cope with negative symptoms, to rehabilitate their physical movement, or as a healthy recreational escape for seniors in assisted living. Through VR, seniors of any ability can access new experiences, relive old ones, and receive a growing variety of cutting-edge physical and occupational therapies.
“In 2023, we are building one the largest digital therapeutic distribution networks for the senior health care industry. Our network includes original content and licenses third-party content aimed at providing digital therapy across the senior care spectrum,” says Brickler.
Caregivers can use MyndVR apps in various ways. Sometimes, activity directors can set up VR stations for patients to use throughout the day. Other times, caregivers actively facilitate 1-1 therapy or rehabilitation, and sometimes communal recreation happens with seniors playing games together.
Physical VR Therapy
One of the most powerful uses of VR in healthcare is physical therapy. Since XR devices can track a user’s movement, health providers can make apps that map rehabilitative movements into VR environments.
MyndVR maps physical movements for rehab into a game-like setting, making rehabilitation fun. Patients sometimes may not realize that the point of a VR app is to get them to move in certain ways– which is beneficial because it removes any negative associations with exercise or physical rehabilitation.
By making physical therapy fun and motivating, MyndVR allows patients to engage more easily and work through rehab with a more positive attitude and overall experience.
Occupational VR Therapy
MyndVR can help develop essential life skills such as static and dynamic balance and physical coordination, which helps seniors to prevent falls and better manage activities of daily living (ADL).
Occupational VR therapy can also simulate situations that teach users the necessary coping skills to alleviate stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions.
“With VR therapy, we create immersive experiences, teaching patients to cope by using meditation exercises. Meditation distracts you from negative thoughts and helps calm the body down,” says Gleason.
MyndVR’s digital therapeutics solution offers seniors the opportunity to enhance physical activities, master ADL exercises, and re-train the brain in a controlled virtual reality environment. Virtual reality allows patients to be transported into a life-like scenario without physically leaving their homes or assisted care facilities.
For example, one module uses a game with balloons that requires seniors to exercise pattern recognition and sequencing. Other modules help seniors navigate the home, make coffee, locate and purchase items at the grocery store, organize misplaced household items, and/or manage medication.
Each of these life-like scenarios uses cognitive behavior therapy in VR to simulate real-world interactions, developing and rehabilitating important life skills for seniors.
Music and VR Therapy
MyndVR recently partnered with Stage Access to provide seniors with a performing arts library in virtual reality. Research shows that performing arts can enhance the quality of life and well-being of older adults, helping to improve mood and socialization, reduce stress and support overall cognitive function.
“At MyndVR, we’re always looking for ways to enhance our content offerings and provide our seniors with exciting and new experiences that they might otherwise never get,” said Brickler. “Partnering with Stage Access helps us to ensure that as adults age, they will continue to be able to access the performing arts, which is a privilege and a source of healing that we should all be able to enjoy…”
Musical experiences in virtual reality maximize positive outcomes for older adults by promoting relaxation, relief, and enjoyment through the arts.
Recreational VR Therapy
Family relationships are essential to seniors’ emotional and mental well-being. MyndVR enhances and maintains relationships by providing unique VR experiences that seniors and their families can create memories with.
“With MyndVR, seniors engage, socialize, and move their bodies. With virtual reality, we’re making it more fun for you to keep your body healthy,” says Gleason.
Whether traveling to some far-off land, visiting a museum, or attending an event in VR – family members create memories in new ways with seniors without having to leave home or assisted living centers.
“For people in hospice care, we can help them experience their bucket list virtually. It may be riding a horse on a beach or visiting Paris – if they are physically unable to, they can now have powerful experiences inside of virtual reality.”
There’s also another use unique to recreational therapy in senior care: to keep them engaged during personal care.
Gleason continues, “Using recreation therapy can also be helpful when seniors need personal care. Patients put on VR headsets, and while they go skiing or travel to another country or play a game, nurses can provide hygienic care more efficiently.”
Recreational VR therapy is an incredibly powerful tool for senior care facilities to help patients create new memories with their loved ones. In addition, it gets seniors more active and gives them new experiences to brighten their day.
MyndVR in Action
“We aim to improve the lives of millions of older adults by making their window to the world bigger, their minds and bodies healthier, and their experience with aging happier through the clinical deployment of immersive technology.”
– Chris Brickler, CEO and Co-Founder at MyndVR
MyndVR is currently being used by caregivers and seniors in hundreds of locations across the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia, and has a range of strategic partnerships, forming a robust digital therapeutics distribution network across Senior Living, Post-Acute/Rehab facilities, Hospice Care organizations and Veteran Homes.
In their recent partnership with AgeWell New York, MyndVR has become the first virtual reality supplemental benefit that is offered by a Medicare Advantage plan, paving the way for broader adoption of VR-Based Digital Therapeutics.
Today, tens of thousands of seniors are using MyndVR to improve their emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being.
How MyndVR Manages XR Devices
For VR businesses to grow and thrive, the end-user experience has to be seamless. That’s where device and content management comes into play. When MyndVR first started, they used a legacy mobile device management (MDM) provider for their XR devices. At the time, it made sense. Every other device in the company was using the same MDM– so why wouldn’t they enroll XR devices using the same system?
The problem is that there are a lot of challenges using legacy MDMs for XR deployments. MyndVR experienced all the major pain points of using a legacy MDM:
|Easy to Use|
|Easy Setup / Enrollment|
|Reliable Installs of Large Apps|
|Visibility on App Deployment|
|Manage User Experience In-Headset|
|Session Data / App Usage|
|User Authentication In-VR|
One of the biggest challenges for MyndVR was managing content and app updates.
Without remote control over app updates, healthcare staff had to manually manage headsets in coordination with MyndVR admins, reducing operational friction and giving caretakers more time to engage with seniors.
Brickler says, “One of the biggest problems is the churn of caregiving staff, which means that the next caregiver may not know how to use the VR headsets. We have to make it very easy to pick up and use right away.”
Manually managing content like this meant that patients might be unable to use MyndVR’s digital therapeutics when a new caregiver comes on board. Doctors, nursing staff, and administrators are often unfamiliar with VR headsets. Remote control over app updates was an absolute necessity for MyndVR to work seamlessly in senior care communities.
“We are a content company. Every month, we deploy content worldwide on the MyndVR network. One of our biggest needs is reliable content distribution, and it’s very important we keep our network fresh with VR content,” Brickler says.
ArborXR makes installing apps and app updates seamless for MyndVR and saves them time. With ArborXR, all apps and app updates install remotely over WiFi. In addition, ArborXR offers VR app version management which allows unlimited versions of different apps loaded onto the platform. If a new app update is released with an unknown bug, then MyndVR admins can easily roll back to a stable version, so their customer’s VR experience is uninterrupted. Learn more about app sharing here.
“With ArborXR, I feel confident shipping products because we know if there’s ever any technical issues, we can manage devices and content remotely. ArborXR increases the quality of our product by reducing the possibility of errors and ensuring seamless updates,” says Gleason.
ArborXR saved MyndVR’s admin team hours of valuable time, enabling them to support their customer’s needs more efficiently.
Gleason said, “Before ArborXR, I wasn’t able to use kiosk mode because we didn’t have a system to control it remotely. We had to manually turn on kiosk mode on every device. Now, with ArborXR, we can manage kiosk mode remotely on every headset. It’s saving us so much time and headaches.”
MyndVR can now easily and safely deliver XR digital therapeutics to patients and their care-givers. This is a huge improvement enabling patients to use digital therapeutics at their own pace, and helps the care giving staff that oversees digital therapeutics for seniors.
ArborXR also helps manage MyndVR’s tablets, which they refer to as “care tablets.” Care tablets allow personalized care for each patient, where caregivers and patients can work together to select the VR experiences they want or need to use.
MyndVR is transforming healthcare for the aging population. They are creating a global network of XR endpoints to deliver the most advanced immersive therapies to seniors in long term care communities and those aging in place (home).
“When we think of the future of MyndVR and digital therapeutics, I couldn’t be more excited to partner with ArborXR to bring this to reality. ArborXR is a big part of the ecosystem of how we deliver digital therapeutics to the massively growing population of older adults,” says Brickler.
Now, with MyndVR using ArborXR for VR headsets and content management, recreational, cognitive, physical, and occupational therapy in virtual reality is even easier to access for seniors across the US.
How is Your Organization Using Virtual Reality in Impactful Ways?
We’d love to hear about it and see how we can help you scale. Schedule a time with one of our team members to learn more about how ArborXR can help you manage your XR devices, VR content, and the user experience.
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