Best VR apps for older people
Virtual Reality (VR) can be an excellent tool for older people to engage in stimulating and enjoyable experiences. In 2021, we worked with the Queensland University of Technology to develop a toolkit for implementing DIY VR in aged care. From our experience in delivering VR with older people, here are a selection of apps that we have found suitable for getting started with VR:
Alcove: We are big fans of this AARP produced VR app. This app offers a variety of activities for older people, such as games, brain exercises, and virtual visits with friends and family. It has a great section of 360 travel including balloon rides, bus trips and more. A really easy app to use with a group of people too. It’s also very simple to use Alcove if you’re guiding someone else in VR for their first time.
First Steps and/or First Contact: These Meta Quest apps offer a beginner’s guide to VR, providing a tutorial on how to use VR equipment and interact with virtual objects. They instruct you in using the controllers, so they’re great if you have good manual dexterity and want to try out all the different buttons and triggers on your hand controllers!
Ocean Rift: This app provides an immersive experience of the underwater world. Users can see various marine animals such as whales, dolphins, and sharks. It’s interactive, fun and very easy to use. It helps the user get comfortable with controllers.
Nature Treks VR: sister app to Ocean Rift, this relaxing experience allows you to visit different landscapes and explore the flora and fauna. There’s a great night and day option and some novel plant growing options.
Wander: This app allows users to explore the world from the comfort of their own home. It offers 360-degree views of different locations and provides a virtual tour experience. It does require a bit of experience using the controllers so people with nil VR use might want to try it out after they’ve used some simpler apps first.
Fruit Ninja: Based on the popular mobile game, this app is a lot of fun and doesn’t require users to utilise different triggers or buttons on the controllers. This makes it super easy to use. It’s a pretty good work out too!
MultiBrush: This app offers a creative outlet for users to create 3D artwork in VR. It is an excellent tool for creative expression and can be a fun activity plus more than one user can join an artwork so you can create together.
Youtube VR: This opens up the world of 360 VR to the user. While the content can be a bit hit and miss, if you can take the time to find some of the better videos, than they’re well worth it. Visit the Iguazu Falls, go parasailing or ride a camel. Lots of fun to be had.
These apps are a great place to get started with your VR journey but they are really just the tip of the iceberg. You can explore many different worlds including Cirque du Soleil, Jurassic Park, the International Space Station, Anne Frank’s house and much much more.
These apps can be used on various VR platforms, including the Oculus Quest 2, PlayStation VR, and Steam.