In this article, we share the findings of a research project undertaken by Professor Mohammad Patwary (University of Wolverhampton) and his colleagues, which explores how to enhance the quality of life for elderly residents in care homes in the United Kingdom through the incorporation of Virtual Reality (VR) experiences.

The research involved implementing VR experiences in selected UK elderly care homes and a combination of qualitative methods, including interviews and observations, were employed to assess the impact of VR on the residents’ well-being, level of engagement, and social interaction. The study also considered the ease of use of the VR technology by both residents and care staff.  The report makes a number of key recommendations – the full report is also available below.

(January 2024)

As our population continues to age, it is crucial that we explore innovative ways to improve the lives of elderly individuals in care homes. It is an established regional and national problem that many elderly residents in both independent residence or care homes often face loneliness, limited mobility, and a lack of engaging activities, leading to social isolation and a decrease in well-being.

Care homes are dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable environment for elderly individuals who may require assistance in their daily activities. However, it is equally important to maintain and improve their cognitive abilities, mental health, and overall quality of life. Traditional activities, while beneficial, may not always effectively engage residents or stimulate their cognitive functions. This is where VR technology can play a transformative role.

Led by Professor Mohammad Patwary, the Research group at the Digital Innovation and Solution Centre in the University of Wolverhampton addresses the issue of improving the quality of life for elderly residents in care homes in the United Kingdom (UK) by incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) experiences.  The full report is available to view here.

Virtual Reality experiences offer a unique and immersive environment that transports users to different places and scenarios. For elderly residents, this can provide a range of benefits:

  1. Cognitive Stimulation: VR experiences can engage the mind through interactive games, puzzles, and memory exercises. These activities promote mental agility, problem-solving skills, and memory recall, which are crucial for maintaining cognitive function.
  2. Emotional Well-being: VR experiences can uplift mood and reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. By providing elderly residents with a sense of adventure, connection, and purpose, VR technology has the potential to enhance emotional well-being and overall quality of life.
  3. Physical Rehabilitation: VR technology can be utilized for physical rehabilitation by simulating repetitive movements or exercises. This can help improve mobility, balance, and coordination, leading to better physical health and reduced risk of falls.

The proposed solution suggests that integrating VR experiences into elderly care homes can provide a novel and immersive way for residents to explore different environments, engage in stimulating activities, and foster social connections. VR technology has the potential to simulate various scenarios, such as virtual travel, virtual museums, and interactive games, which can positively impact the physical and mental well-being of elderly individuals. Special credit goes to Green Games ( , a world leading VR content provider based at Telford; specifically their product Nature Treks VR that has been used for this study.

The experimental settings involved implementing VR experiences in selected UK elderly care homes. A combination of qualitative methods, including interviews and observations, were employed to assess the impact of VR on the residents’ well-being, level of engagement, and social interaction. The study also considered the ease of use of the VR technology by both residents and care staff.

The findings indicate that VR experiences have a significant and positive effect on the elderly residents’ quality of life, memory registration and anxiety. The immersive nature of VR allowed residents to escape their physical limitations, explore meaningful and enjoyable activities, and interact with other residents and care staff. The study highlights the importance of personalized VR content that caters to the individual interests and needs of each resident.

Based on the findings, the paper recommends the integration of VR experiences in elderly care homes across the UK. It suggests that care homes should invest in VR technology and collaborate with VR content creators to develop tailored experiences that cater to a wide range of interests and abilities. Furthermore, the paper recommends providing adequate training and support to care staff to ensure the successful implementation and utilization of VR technology in elderly care homes.

This research emphasizes the potential of VR experiences in enhancing the well-being and social interaction among elderly residents in UK care homes. By adopting and investing in VR technology, care homes can provide a more engaging and fulfilling environment for their residents, ultimately improving their overall quality of life.

Policy Recommendation: We propose that local authorities prioritize the adoption of VR technology in care homes for elderly residents. The following steps should be taken to implement this policy effectively:

  1. Research and Investment: Local authorities should conduct thorough research to identify suitable VR equipment and software that meet the needs of the elderly population. Adequate funding should be allocated to acquire the necessary hardware and provide appropriate training for care home staff.
  2. Collaboration with VR Developers: Collaborating with VR developers and experts will ensure that the experiences created are tailored to the specific needs and abilities of elderly residents. This partnership will help design engaging and age-appropriate content that promotes cognitive stimulation and emotional well-being.
  3. Integration into Care Home Activities: VR experiences should be seamlessly integrated into the existing activities and routines of care homes. This can be achieved by incorporating VR sessions into weekly schedules, ensuring all residents have access to the technology.
  4. Monitoring and Evaluation: Continuous monitoring and evaluation should be carried out to assess the impact of VR experiences on the cognitive abilities and quality of life of elderly residents. This feedback will help refine and improve the use of VR technology in care homes.

In summary, we believe- the introduction of Virtual Reality experiences in care homes has the potential to revolutionize the lives of elderly residents. By promoting cognitive stimulation, emotional well-being, and physical rehabilitation, VR technology can significantly enhance their overall quality of life. We urge local authorities to embrace this policy recommendation, recognizing the transformative impact VR can have on the well-being of our elderly population.

The full report ‘A modified mental state assessment tool for impact analysis of virtual reality-based therapeutic interventions in patients with cognitive impairment’ can be viewed below:




Professor Mohammad Patwary is the Director of Digital Innovation & Solution Centre (DISC) & Professor of Telecommunications at the Faculty of Science & Engineering in University of Wolverhampton since June 2020. He is also research lead for ‘5G Connected Forest Project’ funded by DCMS that aims at accelerating ‘visitor economy’ in the Midlands.

He was a full Professor of telecommunication networks and digital productivity and the Head of the Intelligent Systems and Networks (ISN) Research Group, at School of Computing and Digital Technology, Birmingham City University, UK, between 2017 till 2020; he was also the Principal Data Architect for a large scale 5G testbed in the UK to accelerate digital productivity and to develop urban connected community, with West Midland 5G during 2018-2020.

He was also Full Professor of wireless systems and digital productivity and the Chair of the Centre of Excellence on Digital Productivity With Connected Services, Staffordshire University, until 2017; and His current research interests include sensing and processing for intelligent systems, wireless communication systems design and optimization, signal processing and energy-efficient systems, future generation of cellular network architecture, and business modelling for data-economy.

Mohammad is a Chartered Engineer of Engineering Council, Senior Member of IEEE, Fellow of IET, and co-chair of Testbed working group of International Network Generation Roadmap at IEEE. He is also Member of ITU-T Focus Group on Testbeds Federations for IMT-2020 and beyond (FG-TBFxG). He is the lead on ‘Future Networks, Digital Infrastructure & Inclusivity’ for the Centre for the New Midlands.

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