Residents of Orange aged care facilities have been 'walking through' the streets they grew up in and visiting New York from their armchairs this month.
A virtual reality technology has given seniors the chance to relive favourite memories and have experiences they'd thought might not be impossible.
Orange hospital's Jaffly Chen has been doing the rounds at Uniting Orange and St Francis Aged Care with his virtual reality goggles and controller which can project images from Google Earth or use video to create the retirees chosen experience.
This is the kind of technology most seniors have never heard of, and definitely have never experienced in a rural areaJaffly Chen
Mr Chen said one gentleman, a lover of car racing, asked to sit in the driver's seat of a Formula 1 vehicle.
"'Unbelievable', is a pretty common response," Mr Chen said.
The Orange intern has introduced the program after being awarded a $120,000 scholarship to combine medicine and technology to improve healthcare in regional areas.
The Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship was given to 17 recipients to help them investigate complex social issues and cover their postgraduate studies, a nine-month leadership development program and the opportunity to study abroad.
Mr Chen said one in two residents in permanent aged care suffer from signs of clinical depression, often a result of not getting enough visitors, having lost independence and not getting enough variation in their days.
He said the virtual reality goggles have been used in Melbourne and Sydney to help improve mental health and slow down cognitive decline.
Mr Chen said in the future he hopes the technology will be used to rehabilitate seniors after strokes to encourage mobility.
A virtual trainer could be used to run seniors through drills to get them moving and shorten recovery times.
Dr Chen said through his experience in regional health he wants to overcome issues such as distance and look at the conditions that lead to people requiring medical treatment.
"This is the kind of technology most seniors have never heard of, and definitely have never experienced in a rural area, which is a shame because these are the places where people probably need it the most," he said.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...