Abstract

Three Dimensional Virtual Worlds (3DVWs) are computer-generated, simulated, graphical and multimedia environments, designed so that users can ‘live in’ and engage via their own digital and graphical self-representations known as ‘avatars’. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using 3DVWs to enhance engagement and quality of life in people with dementia. A mixed-methods research design, guided by a feasibility framework, was used, with data collected from semi-structured interviews, observations, and surveys. Eleven residents expressed interest in the 3DVWs intervention after reading an advertisement and attended an introductory session. After this, eight people expressed a desire to participate in the six-session intervention. Participants generally enjoyed the experience of using 3DVWs. Of those who completed all six sessions, two-thirds showed a positive change in their quality of life score. Moreover, those who participated in almost all sessions showed higher satisfaction with the use of the 3DVW than those who dropped out. Both residents and care staff perceived the 3DVW as engaging, fun and memory stimulating. The findings support the feasibility of using 3DVWs with people with dementia, and this justifies the need for further research.

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