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Visionary care for the elderly brought into focus

Scotland’s oldest housing association marks 70th anniversary with special event.

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A trip to the Grand Canyon or the depths of the ocean bed – just some of the places older people are being encouraged to visit, thanks to the Edinburgh organisation, Viewpoint, and its use of virtual reality (VR). VR technology uses headsets to simulate the sights and sounds of real experiences.

Viewpoint, Scotland’s oldest housing association, today celebrates its 70th anniversary with a special event at the capital’s Corn Exchange. It runs three care homes and provides supported accommodation for more than 1,300 people in Edinburgh, the Lothians, and Fife.

To mark the occasion, the association is demonstrating how it is using technology to enable older people to live life to the full. Viewpoint has started introducing VR to enable its tenants and residents to take journeys they would otherwise never make.

‘Tovertafel’ is another innovation the organisation is trialling. Dutch for ‘magic table,’ a box with an inbuilt specialist projector, infrared sensors and speaker is mounted on a ceiling to create a series of interactive light games on a table below. The animations, specially designed for people with mid to late stage dementia, stimulate physical and social activity.

Dorry McLaughlin, Viewpoint’s Chief Executive, said: 

“We’re all about creating joy in later years and living life to the full. Viewpoint began as a home for single women who found themselves homeless after WW2, a radical idea at the time. Seventy years on, we’re still pioneering and are always looking for creative ways to meet people’s needs and bring greater fulfilment.”

As well looking ahead to technologies that could be used regularly to improve the quality of life for older people in social care, Viewpoint will also cast its glance back to the past with its recreation of a 1940s living room. When it comes to the present, software which enables simple medical checks, such as blood pressure, to be carried out in the comfort of someone’s home and results sent straight to their doctor, will also be on show.