Non-virtual anti-reality, please
Virtual reality is all the rage these days, and it's coming to long-term care. The cool kids call it VR — which is a virtual word that makes us think we're using a real language.
I saw the technology being demonstrated recently, and the reaction was mixed. A brave volunteer slipped into what appeared to be welding goggles and was instantly transported into an exciting world she didn't seem to actually enjoy very much.
Oh, it was amazing all right. She was suddenly on an observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, and every head movement brought a little gasp of astonishment, followed by descriptions of fear, dizziness and nausea. She definitely felt like she was actually there and was appropriately overwhelmed, but didn't show much desire to return to France anytime soon.
When it was over, she couldn't pull the future off her face soon enough. She handed the contraption back to the presenter like it was a petri dish full of anthrax, and returned to the comfortingly actual reality of sitting quietly and very still on a folding chair.
Like her, I won't be taking up VR advocacy anytime soon, but it has nothing to do with vertigo or motion sickness. I'm simply not actively seeking additional reality in my life. I don't turn on the local news or read the paper and say, “Boy, that sure was interesting, but I wish I could experience it even more directly and vividly.” That's why I'm far more interested in the untapped promise of NVAR technology — non-virtual anti-reality.
Basically, I want to slip on some clunky goggles and pretend I'm in a country where seniors are valued and honored. Where everyone deserves healthcare. Where long-term care providers earn a predictable living within a comprehensible system, staff are well-paid and plentiful and squirrels aren't running amok in the activity room.
Just thinking about a world like that makes me dizzy.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.