News > Blog

Seniors: The Next Frontier of Virtual Reality

Michael Williams, Coordinator, Partnerships Marketing, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
Craig Palmer hasn’t been able to leave his home in nearly four years. This sedentary lifestyle is a sharp contrast from his career as nightclub singer and Broadway performer. He may never walk again, but virtual reality is giving Palmer a second chance to relive some of his favorite memories.

While wearing a Gear VR headset (Samsung is a Consumer Technology Association [CTA] member), Palmer glanced around a Manhattan nightclub he frequented years ago and watched dancers rehearse for an upcoming performance. He saw boats and bicycles in Amsterdam before gazing at the banks of the Thames in London. In reality, Palmer never left his bed. Nonetheless, he enjoyed his virtual trip.

“This is awesome,” said Palmer. “I get homesick for everything.”

Growing up without smartphones and computers, seniors don’t often use technology as part of their daily lives. Because seniors are the fastest growing population segment in the United States — and this population will continue to grow significantly in the future — technology must cater to this demographic for both entertainment and health care.

Technology has proven benefits for the elderly. Music can stimulate forgotten memories for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Sensors and smart homes protect allow patients to live at home safely. As shown with Palmer’s experiences, virtual reality can improve the well-being of isolated and bedridden seniors. 

Learn how the CTA Foundation is using technology to empower seniors and people with disabilities.