According to AARP, 1 in 5 Americans 65 and older are socially isolated. A study by Birmingham Young University found that social isolation is as harmful to health as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
Research by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) found that social isolation increases health risks that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. The research further found that loneliness is associated with
- 50% increased risk of dementia
- 29% increased risk of heart disease
- 32% increased risk of stroke
- Higher rates of depression and anxiety
Virtual reality travel for seniors is a great way to avoid social isolation and loneliness. VR enables seniors with mobility issues to visit places around the world from the comfort of their homes or living communities.
Virtual Reality Travel for Seniors – The 8 Best Apps
1: Google Earth VR
Google Earth VR brings the whole world within your reach. This VR app enables you to visit some of the incredible sights you will experience including different cities, landmarks, and natural wonders.
The unlimited virtual reality tours for seniors offered by Google Earth VR include flying over a city, standing at the top of the highest peaks, and even soaring into space.
Some examples of hand-picked destinations include.
- Amazon River
- Manhattan Skyline
- Grand Canyon
- Swiss Alps
- Space Needle
- Hoover Dam
And much more. Seniors can now visit the places they always wanted to go. Scroll the streets of Tokyo, walk around Eiffel Tower, or soar over Yosemite.
The incredible cinematic tours and wonders of the world await exploring from the comfort of your home.
Alcove is the #1 VR family-oriented social app. Seniors can connect with their loved ones and host or attend a gathering with families and friends.
The app is packed with world travel, games, media, relaxation, and adventure.
You can meet to take city tours together as you travel the world. Go to the snowy mountains or choose a beach for your gatherings. This app provides free virtual tours for seniors and is a great tool to fight loneliness and isolation for the elderly.
The key features of Alcove include:
- Travel around the world with family and friends. Hundreds of tours to all continents. City tours, hot air balloon ride or a back-country road trip
- Go diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or swim with dolphins in the Pacific Ocean.
- Practice meditation in nature, play with the virtual pet
- Share photos and videos or play games
Alcove is a great choice for people aging at home or in assisted living. It bridges the physical distance between families and brings them together to experience new places.
Wander opens the world through the magic of virtual reality travel for seniors. Teleport to anywhere you want to go from the comfort of your living room.
Walk across the London Bridge, stroll the gardens of the Taj Mahal or witness the enormity of the Great Pyramids.
Some of the notable features of Wander include
- Speech recognition for searching
- Wikipedia recognition and historical jumping to witness change over the years
- Multiple navigation modes
- Bring back memories by visiting the places from your past such as your school
Recreate your vacations from years ago or visit Antarctica, explore your favorite team’s stadium, or go into space.
One of the best apps for virtual reality tours for seniors and going back in time.
4: Escape Now: The Icons
The award-winning VR filmmaker, Tarik Mohamed, brings the seven-part virtual reality series to take to some of the world’s most iconic places.
The seven episodes transport seniors to:
- The Great Pyramids of Egypt
- Italy: Florence and Rome
- Washington DC
- New York City
Tarik shares the stories behind these iconic destinations. The visuals and incredible and you learn new things and information, along the way.
Get Escape Now from Meta Quest
5: Blenheim Palace
Do you want to visit the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill? Or in the mood to visit an exquisite palace? then the Blenheim Palace should be your next virtual tour.
It was built in the 18th century and is a World Heritage Site.
You can now roam around the palace and experience the beauty and grandeur of its rooms. The virtual reality travel for seniors to the Blenheim Palace includes the tours of:
- The Great Hall
- China Ante Room
- Green and Red Drawing Rooms
- Green Writing Room
- The Saloon
- State Rooms (First, second and third)
- The Library
And many outdoor areas including the court, the south lawn, the lake, and Grand Bridge. Explore the palace like never before using your VR headset.
Virtual Reality Tour of Blenheim Palace
Ecosphere is an award-winning documentary platform that takes you to the world’s wildest places. This ultra-realistic VR tour was produced by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Incredible 3D documentaries on wildlife and remote areas such as jungles, deserts, and oceans.
Enjoy breathtaking underwater views to explore the coral reefs of Southeast Asia or observe the elephants of Africa. It is eye-opening to learn about what other civilizations endured throughout the changes in our ecosphere.
Get EchoSphere from MetaQuest
7: The VR Museum of Fine Art
If you want to go to the museum that has the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures from the comfort of your sofa, this is the perfect app for you.
The VR Museum of Fine Art captures the feeling of being in a museum perfectly.
Learn about each piece of art and zoom in to see the small details. The level of detail in the painting is incredible as you can see the individual brush strokes and texture of the canvas.
Each piece of art has its title, description, and history.
Enter the VR Museum of Fine Art
8: BRINK Traveler
This app is a treat for nature lovers and takes you to the most awe-inspiring locations on Earth. Virtual reality travel for seniors with a short and useful explanation of where you are and what you see.
The details like additional atmosphere touches (birds, dust particles, bugs) give you a sense of presence in those places.
The key features of Brink Traveler include:
- 22 locations with 32 incredible spots
- A virtual guide to narrate about your surroundings
- Shoot photos to share with friends
The variety of content and quality of images makes it an ideal app for virtual reality tours for seniors. Do not miss the top of the Pulpit in Norway and Antelope Canyon. This app is built with love and passion for remote places.
Get BRINK Traveler
These are the best 8 apps for virtual reality travel for seniors. Many older adults get addicted to VR tours and love the experience of exploring new places.
Benefits of Virtual Reality Travel for Seniors
Virtual reality tours bring fun and excitement to seniors. They look forward to traveling to the destinations they always wanted to explore.
Some of the benefits of VR travel for the elderly are:
- VR travel reduces social loneliness, isolation, and depression among seniors
- Seniors can recreate the memory of past trips that they enjoy
- Dementia patients can take a trip down the memory line and visit places from their past like their childhood school, using apps like Google Earth VR. Read more about virtual reality for dementia patients.
- Seniors can join family and friends for virtual tours and share experiences together as a family activity.
- VR travel is cheap and affordable. All you need is a VR headset and a free travel app (or paid ones that are not that costly) to experience the places you always wanted to travel to but the cost was an issue.
- VR technology makes travel a possibility for seniors with mobility issues as they can virtually tour any place from the comfort of their homes.
Virtual reality travel opens door to the world for seniors. It is a fun activity for the elderly and a way to keep them entertained and active.