ELDERLY residents at a Crewe care home have been going on some worldly adventures thanks to new virtual reality equipment.

Residents at Mayfield House Care Home have been trekking through the jungle on safari, taking in the Northern Lights, heading into space and sitting on the shore of a tropical island.

They are some of the first in the UK to benefit from using the technology, which was specially developed for use in care homes and hospitals, particularly those with dementia.

For 82-year-old Cerys Radcliffe, taking a virtual trip to the beach has brought back fond memories of day trips with her husband as well as in her childhood.

She said: “Although I’ve previously been to Paris, Belgium and Holland, I’ve never been to a beach on a tropical island.

“Using the virtual reality is my only chance to see the sea at the moment, and it’s beautiful. I really enjoyed it. It makes you feel and see different things, like you are really there.

“I like using it to visit the beach because it reminds me of time I spent with my husband, but I’ve also used it to go into space and see the Northern Lights.”

Les Preston, 75, and Kath Reilly, 93, have also enjoyed a virtual trip to the tropical beach. Kath particularly enjoyed it because she used to live by the sea in Bournemouth.

She said: “I’ve never seen anything like this virtual reality before, I didn’t know it existed and I’ve really enjoyed using it.”

The new technology, called ImmersiCare, was purchased by owner Victoria Sylvester who also owns healthcare training specialists Acacia Training and Samuel Hobson House in Wolstanton.

Victoria explains: “This technology has won an international award for the best use of virtual reality in healthcare – with the manufacturers reporting a 70 per cent reduction in stress levels amongst patients, and pain relief that is twice as effective as morphine.

“The system enables residents to stay seated while entering 3D scenes that have been extensively tested to ensure just the right level of stimulation, which is particularly important for clients with dementia.”

Mayfield House team leader Kelsie Palin spends time with residents and their families helping them to use the virtual reality equipment.

She says: “It’s a very pleasant experience. It helps to stimulate the brain through things like counting the animals or things they see.

“A member of staff sits with them and observes the same scene on a laptop – so we can talk about what they are seeing or ask questions afterwards to help their memory recall.”

“This is helping all our residents, but it can be particularly useful to support those with dementia.

“It is calming and stimulating, as well as being a sociable experience – because the residents talk to us and each other about what they have seen, where they have visited and the sights they would like to see next.”