What You Should Know:
– Rendever, a Boston-based virtual reality (VR) platform built to help seniors overcome social isolation through shared experiences, announces that it has been awarded a $2M Phase II Grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
– This grant will fund a registered multi-site clinical trial, in conjunction with the University of California Santa Barbara, to further Rendever’s continued research on the effects of VR on seniors. The focus of the research is to evaluate the impact of VR-based virtual family engagement for seniors and the differences in effect across various levels of cognitive impairment (MCI, mild to moderate AD/ADRD).
How VR Reduces Harmful Effects of Social Isolation in Seniors
The Phase II Grant builds on Rendever’s previously awarded Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Grant to measure the impact of Rendever’s engagement platform. The initial pilot data confirmed the positive impact that virtual family engagement has on both residents and their family members living at a distance. Residents experienced decreased negative emotions and feelings of isolation, increased positive emotions and engagement with their family members, and overall improved quality of life. Family members reported similar mental health benefits along with significant decreases in caregiver guilt after using Rendever’s VR platform with their loved ones.
The data collection is expected to be conducted through the end of 2022 and the study will include approximately 400 participants in 12 senior living communities in the greater Boston area and central California. With uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is also prepared for remote collaboration for safety purposes as needed.
“We see the first-hand effects of our virtual reality platform every day through our community partners. We’re trailblazing toward a future in which communities thrive beyond the four walls of the physical building. This clinical trial is truly the first of its kind, and will help us continue to push the boundaries of what we think is possible through VR,” said Kyle Rand, Cofounder and CEO of Rendever. “The future of the industry will be enabled through technology that not only builds thriving communities, but also maintains the important social connections that exist before a resident moves in. We are incredibly grateful for the hard work and enthusiasm that is going into this study, and are eager to officially launch Phase II.”