Care Home residents enjoy a virtual dive under the sea

Thanks to the Ocean Conservation rust and staff at the Plymouth Aquarium, residents of Vale View Heights Care Home experienceda dive under the ocean

Residents at Vale View Heights, a 50-bed care home in Sidmouth, East Devon have enjoyed the unique experience of diving under the ocean from the comfort of their sitting room, thanks to virtual reality headsets provided by the Ocean Conservation Trust at Plymouth Aquarium.

As part of its broad activities programme Vale View Heights has a ‘Magical Moments’ list for residents, where they can share what they’d most like to do or what they’ve always wanted to accomplish.  Resident Dennis Friend, who is 100 next year, confided that he’d love to return to Plymouth Aquarium so the team at Vale View Heights set about making his dream a reality.

Fortunately, the Ocean Conservation Trust at Plymouth Aquarium offered to deliver a virtual reality workshop to residents at the home, thus enabling many more residents to enjoy the experience too.   A team from Plymouth Aquarium helped twelve residents don their headsets and experience life under the sea for a few hours, courtesy of programmes such as ‘In the shark tank’ and ‘Under the ocean’.  The team also brought various objects from the seabed, including dolphin skulls, ribs and dorsal fins as well as a wolffish skull.

Commenting on the fulfilment of his wish, Dennis Friend says: “I was asked what I’d most like to do this year and top of the list was to return to Plymouth Aquarium to see the sharks as haven’t been there for nearly 30 years. Luckily, Plymouth Aquarium brought the experience to us, and we had a marvellous time with the virtual reality sets, swimming with the fish, sharks and a huge octopus.  It was a wonderful afternoon!”

Brian Pankhurst, another resident at Vale View Heights, adds: “The visit from the staff at Plymouth Aquarium was first class.  Thy were so knowledgeable, and everyone enjoyed the afternoon greatly.  It was a huge success all round.”

Janet Stanley, activities coordinator at Vale View Heights concludes: “It was a real pleasure to be able to provide the residents with such a unique and unusual activity.  The afternoon gave them all so much joy and generated a real buzz in the home.  The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we are so grateful to the team at Plymouth Aquarium, who are welcome back at any time.”

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