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Monday, August 05, 2019


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Madeline Blackbart

I think at this point in time VR is really a supplement to RL for most (if not all) people, not just the elderly. I mean even VR headset don't replicate things like touch, smell, etc. At the end of the day virtual worlds and online games are a tool for making connections with people. That's where there current value truly is, and until we get to the point where virtual worlds can replicate every part of RL not just visuals, it's where VR will stay.
That's not to speak ill of virtual worlds. The ability to connect with other people is extremely important for human beings. In that area Virtual worlds are extremely valuable. It's just that I can't see them becoming a full replacement to real life for anyone anytime soon.
I also feel like when people say "it's a great place for the elderly" I think they are more talking about how good it is as a tool for making connections with others. Lets be honest it's EXTREMELY common for the elderly and the disabled to feel isolated and alone. Feeling that way isn't exactly Ideal for an individuals health or mental well being. I personally think using virtual worlds as a tool to aid in communication will only increase in the future as well.


You can meet many retired, elderly and disabled people in Second Life, likely way more than your typical MMOGs. Thus, in fact, elderly people go there and there is a bunch of lonely ones (younger too, though), that look for connections or just some company or at least a positive distraction.
However, John C has a good point too. It can be subjective, more or less, depending on your situation, but I can see elder people for whom it becomes uncomfortable, tiresome and eventually stressful, to remain for too long focused on a screen, sitting on a chair, while otherwise they would lay down every then. The back hurts, head too, typing gets tiresome and eventually they would like to switch to voice. Reading becomes difficult, and so forth. Even if you aren't an elderly person but you have a long period of health issues, you can relate.
You would surely prefer a beautiful real life, you may have nostalgia of the past...
On the other hand, if you can't walk so much, you live in an isolated place, your outdoor isn't exactly a nice park or hills with picturesque sunsets, you have no friends left, you want to dream a little or you are starting to fell a panic attack and you are home alone... a social-something may help a little and a social virtual world is just more immersive and iteractive.
Maybe you could strap a VR HMD on your head, instead, laying down on your bed and imagine yourself next to a lake or a beach. For a little.

Lysistrata Szapira

I am not elderly or retired or 100% disabled, but I do suffer from chronic pain. SL gives me the opportunity to go dancing without pain, to painlessly meet people, to go exploring and to marvel at things people have created, and to endlessly tinker with my SL house and property (something that is very difficult for me to do in RL).

Do I spend all of my time in SL? Of course not. Would I if I were elderly or retired? Of course not. Even if I were 100% disabled, I wouldn't devote all my time to SL. There are many other things I could do. SL would just be one of those choices I would gratefully use.

I've learned after spending time with chronic pain that looking back and mourning what I've lost is pointless and a waste of time. I do my best to look forward, and SL is something I'd love to continue using into my dotage.

Stephanie Meyer

In RL, I am happy to live in a retirement community with many social activities.

In SL, I am happy to be able to explore and create without anyone thinking I'm weird.

In RL, I seldom talk about what I did that day in SL, because I have found that it results in a lot of eyeball rolling.

In SL, I am not going to tell anyone about the RL Ice Cream Social with music by the International Philharmonic Ukelele Orchestra.

In a way, I feel compartmented. Just as sometimes I feel a disconnect in SL when changing alts and avatars, in RL I have to remind myself "Everyone act normal".

I'm hoping that by the time I am 100 there will be more integration of the realities.


I think it will all be much different as we progress. My father struggled with a mobile phone. When I visited him in his home there were entertainers still playing songs from the wars at the piano. If I should make it to such an age that I to must be shelved in such an institution, then I am sure that all the residents will just be pointed to you tube URL's on their digital music players. I imagine walking past retirement homes and hearing "Pretty Vacant" or "Bored Teenagers" blaring from the open windows, and old resident attempting simulated pogo's from their wheelchairs.


I'm retired, 66,and a creator who makes a modest living from SL. It gives me purpose. I have Fibromyalgia so SL keeps me busy.

sirhc desantis

Gen 55 and next year Gen 56. Market sphere that you erm marketing people (oh so self w**k that you need to be part of) can take a flying - fish over. Already bunkered the VR I like so is good for 25 years. Which makes me 80 and by that time? Ha!
I don't need to simulate my 'youth'. I was there. Born again Rudie no less :) This old fart spent 3.5 plus decades in the IT Biz and can type with one digit - nose if needed.
Now having a nurse to hold the shift and cntl key when building - well you can dream.
We are not the old farts you are looking for.

Clara Seller

I pretty much agree with JohnC. I think VR could offer could offer something of interest to older people, but it won't. I could pretty much say the same thing about RL in that it could offer more to the people who currently have a more difficult time participating in it, but it won't.

As a culture, we've reached a point where we offer pretty much nothing and sell everything to the lowest hanging fruit. We can't honestly say that we are even offering survival to our newborns, but we have a crapload of stuff to sell them along the way.

Madness is at the helm and it's incapable of thinking deep enough to imagine what an older person, with a life-long collection of thought and experience, might want to do with their mind. If a person doesn't want to feed money, push buttons, and laugh like a baby as things dance in front of their face, they need more than we are willing to give.


60 years old here. I'm a Boomer. I've often envisioned my own time in a "seniors" home. I don't anticipate that for at least another 10 to 15 years, provided something unanticipated happens. There's still going to be a commons room for old farts activities. But the key difference for me and the others after me will be access to PCs, smartphones, and VR & AR. Mostly AR. We know how to tune out. We also know when we need to tune in. VR is nice, but it will always be isolating. Personally, I'm going to need an AR headset by then. I'll be interacting with my personal hallucinations, er, holographic AIs while I watch my roommates drool in a corner.

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