Springer Nature

Virtual reality among the elderly: a usefulness and acceptance study from Taiwan

Posted on 2019-08-20 - 11:59
Abstract Background Virtual reality (VR) has several applications in the medical domain and also generates a secure environment to carry out activities. Evaluation of the effectiveness of VR among older populations revealed positive effects of VR as a tool to reduce risks of falls and also improve the social and emotional well-being of older adults. The decline in physical and mental health, the loss of functional capabilities, and a weakening of social ties represent obstacles towards active aging among older adults and indicate a need for support. Existing research focused on the effects of VR among older populations, and its uses and benefits. Our study investigated the acceptance and use of VR by the elderly. Methods This pilot study was conducted on 30 older adults who voluntarily participated during March to May 2018. Nine VR applications that promote physical activities, motivate users, and provide entertainment were chosen for this study. Participants were asked to use any one of the applications of their choice for 15 min twice a week for 6 weeks. At the end of 6 weeks, participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire based on the Technology Acceptance Model and a literature review, to evaluate their acceptance of VR technology. Cronbach’s alpha reliability analysis was used to test the internal consistency of the questionnaire items. Pearson’s product moment correlation was used to examine the validity of the questionnaire. A linear regression and mediation analysis were utilized to identify relationships among the variables of the questionnaire. Results In total, six male and 24 female participants aged 60~95 years volunteered to participate in the study. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, social norms, and perceived enjoyment were seen to have had significant effects on the intention to use VR. Participants agreed to a large extent regarding the perceived usefulness, perceived enjoyment, and their experience of using VR. Thus, VR was seen to have high acceptance among this elderly population. Conclusions Older people have positive perceptions towards accepting and using VR to support active aging. They perceived VR to be useful, easy to use, and an enjoyable experience, implying positive attitudes toward adopting this new technology.


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