weekly blog--one for the ages
Silly me! It wasn’t until I was friended on Facebook by someone who used to run a cruise center to realize that I had left out an important aging topic on the ConfrontingAging website: Travel. It’s one of the top priorities for older people with time on their hands. Studies have shown that the physical, mental and social activities associated with traveling – such as touring a museum, navigating through an unfamiliar town, walking along the beach, or immersing in a new culture – improve overall health and cognitive function.
Yet according to one report, only one in five Americans (18%) have specifically factored travel into their retirement financial strategies. For people who don’t have the time, money or inclination, this could be the year where virtual gear becomes an alternative. Right now, you can purchase Google Cardboard for $15 and get a free app that simulates a drive through Tuscany. The system consists of a pair of magnifying glasses and a sheet of cardboard, all of which run off a standard smartphone screen.
For $100, you can buy Samsung’s Gear VR and get a free app called Streetview that creates a 360-degree environment to explore 3,000 locations, worldwide. The system features a phone-powered headset with tracking sensors, more sophisticated built-in controls, and a focus wheel.
You can also get Streetview on Samsung’s Oculus Rift. Along with HTC’s Vive and Sony’s Playstation VR, these are the highest quality VR gear systems available to consumers. They run off external computers or game consoles, and offer advanced features such as motion tracking, high-resolution screens, and sophisticated graphics. They’re also generally more comfortable to wear, better at blocking outside light, and less prone to inducing motion sickness.
The headsets range in price from about $399 to $800, plus you need a controller which can add between $400 and $2,000 to the cost. Oculus Rift and Vive are available now. Sony’s Playstation VR is scheduled for release in October.
Meanwhile, don’t leave home without visiting ConfrontingAging’s new Travel section. Also worth exploring are some new items. Eating and Exercise—Medical Foods, Nutritional Psychiatry. Housing Options—Transitioning to Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and Memory Care facilities. Retirement Planning—Coping with Empty Nest Syndrome.