ANDOVER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Residents at Stone Hill Senior Living Center got a special virtual reality cupcake-making lesson as a Valentine's Day treat Thursday.
The residents strapped on VR goggles, transporting them to Magnolia Bakery in Boston's Faneuil Hall, where they watched a baker give a step-by-step lesson on how to make fancy Valentine's cupcakes.
Then, they got to eat fancy Valentine's Day cupcakes in real life.
"It was absolutely exquisite," said one resident.
"It was fascinating," said another. "I wasn't exposed to this technology before!"
"It's funny, because I was sitting in the chair, and I was looking down, looking like I could fall off the chair!" said another resident.
It's a project by Somverville-based company Rendever. The company's CEO, Kyle Rand, told WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers they use virtual reality to reduce social isolation in communities like senior centers.
"We actually saw decreases in depression, increases in feelings of trust, and increases in social health, because what happens is, they're experiencing these things together," he said. "They're laughing together, they're smiling together. They take their headsets off, and you have this new connection."
Residents at Stone Hill Senior Living Center try on Rendever's VR goggles. (Rendever)
After cupcakes, the residents used the VR goggles to go all over the world—Machu Picchu, Barcelona, Yosemite, and even someone's childhood home just half a mile away.
Tracy Meach, Stone Hill's community program director, said their residents love to explore places they've never been, though many like to go back to where they used to be.
"You know, sometimes residents' worlds can get smaller," she said. "Our goal is to make it bigger, and this virtual reality allows us to do that."
WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers (@_madisonrogers) reports