Could a bit of cardboard help us tackle dementia?


Google Cardboard. Cheap, user friendly and wonderfully fun.

For anyone who hasn’t yet had a play on this gadget, it is a £10 piece of cardboard that folds up into a totally immersive virtual reality headset… with the help of some excellent apps on your smartphone. You can order it here.

The Comms Team at Futures Housing Group recently ran a #getdigital event for staff at our Ripley and Daventry motherships to showcase the range of digital tools at our disposal to help customers and ourselves.

As a bit of a gimmick – but also as a crowdsourcing exercise – we ran a Google Cardboard stand so staff could have a play on  a few free apps such as playing on stage with Paul McCartney, walking in space and a virtual rollercoaster ride.

The result was beautiful. Smiling faces, laughter, wonderment and best of all, a heap of ideas about how we can use it practically as part of our business as a social landlord and property developer.


My crowdsourcing exercise threw up a range of concepts ranging from a virtual sign-up process for tenants and virtual versions of sheltered accommodation to show to prospective older tenants to some brilliant staff training and ‘day in the life’ educational tools.

But one of the most promising and workable suggestions centred on creating a virtual version of our Rempods – dementia friendly environments which have been proven to help tenants living with the condition.

The problem with Rempods is the £1,000 cost of moving them from one location to another.

But a virtual reality version, which our frontline teams could take to someone’s home for the cost of a £10 pair of cardboard goggles, is something worth exploring. And explore we will…

I’d love to hear from anyone who has used virtual reality in this way to make a real difference for customers or staff.