A virtual world tour for Catholic Healthcare residents

Catholic Healthcare residents at two NSW aged care facilities recently had a chance to travel the world – without even leaving their homes.

St John’s Villa and Charles O’Neill Hostel played host to volunteers from the Red Cross Community Visitors Scheme bearing virtual reality headsets, which enabled residents to tour famous sites around the globe like the Taj Mahal, the Sistine Chapel, the Grand Canyon, and the Eiffel Tower.

Residents were delighted, with one reminiscing about her 60th wedding anniversary in New Zealand; Jennifer Alterator, Lifestyle Coordinator at St John’s Villa, said staff and residents were excited for what they might see next time.

“I am really impressed by the virtual reality program and the way it benefits our residents. They’re still buzzing and talking about what they saw and their travel experiences!” she said.

According to Kat Butterworth, Red Cross Community Programs Officer – Social Inclusion, the program is designed to improve quality of life for people who would otherwise be socially isolated.

“We want to be able to help create something truly meaningful for residents of local aged care homes, while fostering connection and friendship.

“With the help of virtual reality, we are creating a purposeful and meaningful activity that supports enjoyment and communication through shared experiences,” she said.

The Red Cross is planning to roll out the virtual reality program to other homes, including at Catholic Healthcare, in coming months.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.