Older Nova Scotians can now visit Nova Scotia landmarks from the comfort of the Northwood facility in Halifax through virtual reality programming. The project was launched today, Oct. 3, as part of Seniors Week.
Through a grant from the Department of Seniors, Northwood residents and older adults in the community can access a collection of 360 videos featuring Nova Scotia landmarks and places of cultural significance.
“In the space between technology and aging, there is so much innovative potential – and this project is a great example of that,” said Seniors Minister Leo Glavine. “Bringing unique, local experiences to Northwood residents through virtual reality technology is an amazing leap forward in Nova Scotia, and we couldn’t be more excited. This really has the potential to enhance the quality of life for these older adults.”
Northwood is the largest not-for-profit continuing care organization in Atlantic Canada. The virtual reality programming is currently available through Northwood’s Community Recreation and Wellness program at both the Halifax and Bedford Campuses.
“Our community can now experience different parts of Nova Scotia without leaving Northwood,” says Natasha Handspiker, manager of Community Engagement. “This is especially beneficial for the elderly and adults with cognitive and mobility challenges.
“An accessible virtual reality service at Northwood has the potential to support our community in reaching a variety of health-related outcomes while providing an opportunity for leisure.”
Video was shot and produced by Edward Mowbray of Quirk 360 and includes footage of The Bluenose II in Lunenburg, a Mi’kmaw smudging ceremony as well as a powerful choir performance at St. Georges Church in Halifax.
Northwood has plans to partner with researchers and entrepreneurs to learn how virtual reality and 360 videos can improve the lives of older adults and those living with cognitive and physical challenges.
The funding for the program was provided through SHIFT: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for an Aging Population, which focuses on helping older Nova Scotians stay involved in work, entrepreneurship, volunteering and other activities. For more information on SHIFT, visit http://novascotia.ca/shift .