Bradenton seniors go on new adventures, including skydiving and flying to outer space

Bradenton seniors go on new adventures, including skydiving and flying to outer space

BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - Thursday, a 77-year-old’s wish to see the world was granted.

Gwen Baker suffered a debilitating stroke two years ago, keeping her from doing a lot of the outdoor activities she once enjoyed.

But thanks to virtual reality, she and her friends at Brookdale Freedom Village got to travel the world and outer space.

It's called MyndVR, a form of noninvasive technology used not only for entertainment, but also for therapy for hundreds of senior citizens across the country.

So how does it work? Participants simply slide the goggles on and they're in a whole new world.

It's a good thing Gwen Baker isn't afraid of heights, because on Thursday she went skydiving.

"You have to twist your body to control the directions," said Baker. "I kept thinking I need to twist that way, so I won't hit that rock or I need to go that way, so I won't hit that mountain."

Though the jump was only from her mind, she held on tight, saying it seemed so real.

"She was gripping the chair arms so hard, I thought she was going to break them off," laughed Gwen's husband, Jim Baker.

"That was exciting, very exciting, phew!" exclaimed Gwen Baker after the simulation.

"We started this a couple of years ago with an idea on how you can improve music and memory," said the CEO and Co-Founder of MyndVR, Chris Brickler.

He said the company merged the positive affects that music has on the aging brain with virtual reality.

"We're thinking about that and then thinking about how other areas of energy in our world like nature and animals and wildlife, travel, all these kind of things," Brickler added. "We're thinking why couldn't we put something together in virtual reality that would hit all of these things?"

MyndVR created just that, providing seniors with new, therapeutic adventures that their body no longer allows them to go on.

"It's unbelievable, just truly unbelievable and I am so thankful to have had it," said Gwen Baker.

It was a wish come true, thanks to the partnership Brookdale Freedom Village has with a nonprofit organization called Wish of a Lifetime.

"We're always pushing the limits," said Josh Smith, executive director of Brookdale Freedom Village. "Just because we're gaining years, doesn't mean we quit living and we prove that here everyday."

"There's so many people who have worst disabilities than I do and if they're able to go back in time and feel like they're actually physically doing something? It's mind boggling," Baker added.

About 200 seniors tried MyndVR at Freedom Village in Bradenton. The virtual reality experience was launched six months ago and has already reached 18 states.

Anyone interested in learning more about MyndVR can click here.

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