Virtual reality used to help people better understand those living with Alzheimer’s

Posted at 2:51 PM, Dec 26, 2018

Virtual reality is big in the gaming word. But now, the technology is being used to help better understand Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the World Health Organization, 50 million people around the world suffer from Alzheimer’s, and that number is growing rapidly. By 2050, it’s expected to double.

"It can be challenging, right? Because there is no cure,” says Molly Fogel, an educator at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Fogel is part of the crusade to help people better understand what it’s like living with this illness. That's where virtual reality comes in.

“Virtual reality helps you become part of Harry's morning,” Fogel explains of the program. “You will be in his shoes.

“It's a 3 minute and 12 second experience.”

The video goes through the first part of Harry's day. He has Alzheimer’s.

During the VR experience, users will experience things like blurry vision, hallucinations, confusion and disorganization.

“Our hope is that we can help people through a really cool technology,” Fogel says.

The device launched this year as a tool to help care givers, and even family members, empathize and understand the disease.

“Most likely you know somebody or will know somebody living with this illness, Fogel says.

“As we can better understand Alzheimer’s disease--destigmatize Alzheimer’s disease--we can be better friends, community members, healthcare professionals, and help the person live with this illness, versus suffer with the illness.”