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Going Home

A personalized virtual-reality experience that take us through levels of favorite memories, smells, places, sights, sounds, people and touch

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Just as we plan our funeral, we can customize our end-of-life experiences in a way that is familiar, safe and comforting to each individual. Whether you face death at a hospital or at home, with loved ones or alone, the personalized Going Home virtual-reality experience focuses on the living patient's well-being by bringing cherished parts of their life to life. The hope is to reduce the anxiety caused by the unknowns of dying by surrounding the patient with more of the "knowns" of their life.

Science shows that expressive touch, sounds and smells help the dying feel less isolated. Going Home, a virtual-reality headset pre-loaded with personalized sensory experiences (memories, sights, sounds, places and smells pre-selected by the patient), aims to ease the anxiety of the end-of-life journey by immersing the dying in a familiar and soothing environment: cherished moments from their own life. 

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I'd beging by gathering a focus group of seniors and their caregivers/loved ones at a local Assisted Living facility and give them materials to scrapbook their lives, reliving memories with loved ones nearby. I'd ask them to keep it with them or nearby each day, and ask them to record (or have their love ones record) their anxiety level around death or dying in relation to having the scrapbook in-hand.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I'm interested in the possibilities and limitations of virtual reality. Is this possible, or will it have to wait a few decades?

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm an advertising creative director

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

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Hi Ellen, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.