Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Senior citizens in Yorktown are traveling to exotic destinations without leaving the county

York County's IT Department is launching a new virtual reality program at the Senior Center of York. (WY Daily/Courtesy of York County)
York County’s IT Department is launching a new virtual reality program at the Senior Center of York. (WY Daily/Courtesy of York County)

Mountain climbing, SCUBA diving, and even a trip to the Moon are possible despite mobility difficulties for seniors at the Senior Center of York in Yorktown.

After the center’s Information Technology Department launches a virtual reality program Friday, residents ages 55 and older and their spouses will have access to “various relaxing, inspiring, and even exotic travel destinations to visit through the VR technology,” York County officials said in a release.

“The first goal of this York County initiative was to assist senior citizens overcome mobility challenges,” said Timothy Wyatt, York County’s deputy director of information technology. “With today’s technology, specifically VR, there’s no reason an 80-year-old can’t go mountain climbing, SCUBA dive, or explore an Egyptian tomb.”

Bringing the technology to seniors allows them to sit comfortably in a chair or watch on a wide-screen television to encounter, or even revisit, places and experiences they may not physically be able to see today, said Gail Whittaker, a spokeswoman for York County.

And, with scenes from art museums, the sinking of the Titanic, and the systems in the human body, Wyatt said the new program is also an avenue for education.

“There are also 3D puzzles that exercise spacial awareness, which is believed to be a critical aspect associated with diseases affecting the senior population,” he said.

York County operates the center with involvement from the business and civic community and the Peninsula Agency on Aging and offers a “home away from home” for senior citizens to enjoy an array of educational, arts, cultural, exercise, and health programs, officials said.

Seniors who attend the center request activities and programs like the popular Dining Club, crafts and bridge clubs, and senior-cise, that are supported by volunteers.

Reservations to use the new virtual reality set in the center’s computer lab are required as Whittaker said it’s expected to become a popular feature.

York County’s Information Technology Department is unveiling the new program at the Senior Center’s 28th anniversary celebration Friday — click here for more information.

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