Digital and health: these long-distance journeys that keep the elderly in shape

Thanks to new technologies, especially live streaming, Stravvel, a start-up set up in the Pyrénées-Orientales, offers long-distance travel for the elderly, residents of nursing homes or nursing homes. This escape by proxy has beneficial consequences for seniors’ health. We tell you more about this digital experience for therapeutic purposes.

In Saint-Paul de Vence, they were able to listen to a “nose” and spray their hands with the perfume he had created, to better feel, smell. The battle for the flowers at the carnival in Nice? They have seen his joys. They also participated in the sea lion and dolphin show offered by the famous Marineland. Last February, several dozen residents of nursing homes or nursing homes discovered the Côte d’Azur and its must-see places for a week without moving from their comfortable armchairs. They were there after all, thanks to new technologies and “travelers” from a start-up who filmed live for them. Who were their eyes, or even much better. This company is Stravvel. Based on the Pôle Action Média du Soler near Perpignan (66), it was created in October 2020, after three years spent refining the project. In particular, it was incubated from 2017, for six months, within the FuTourisme program of the Barcelona Activa, a Barcelona “incubator” dedicated to innovation.

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The observation: “40% of the French population is excluded from tourist consumption”

Thus, a live streaming device was developed that is capable of inviting the audience deprived of it, primarily the elderly, to travel. The starting point is this observation: “40% of the population of France is excluded from tourism consumption due to age, health, disability or economic reasons. Our mission is to get these people to travel, from their homes, to reconnect to travel, to the tourist experience, to the world at large, ”explains Pascal Guedj, founder and CEO of Stravvel.

Pascal Guedj, traveling founder of the startup: he thought of people who were excluded from traveling.

The 50-year-old, who worked for more than twenty years in the tourism sector as an expert in the development of destinations or products, wanted to “reduce these inequalities”, to think of those who are excluded from “travel, if we often hear it said that it is the most pleasant activity we have experienced. ”The need has become even more urgent, with the confinements that have further strengthened the isolation, the confinement of the most fragile, these aggravating factors.

Less than two years after its creation, the start-up – which took its first steps in the region but has since gained a national scale – is preparing to “embark” on its fiftieth-century retirement home towards a better life. “On each trip, about ten homes participate with groups of 15 to 20 residents for each or up to 200 people at a time,” emphasizes Pascal Guedj. Winner of the latest Alfred-Sauvy Prize created by the network of Catalan leaders, she has also just marked herself in a call for projects from Carsat-Languedoc-Roussillon, to expand her audience, to appeal to “even older people, who live at home, isolated. They got a tablet and some training in learning to use it. ”The next destinations? The Loire Valley and its famous castles (July); Normandy, with especially the landing beaches (September). At the start of the school year, the start-up plans to go from six to nine employees.And it hopes in the near future to take its users even further on board.

Here’s how it works: “It’s live, the magic of traveling will take place through interactions”

Cameras on board, chat rooms, live broadcast on screens located in homes, with three livestreams for a week’s stay: Stravvel’s concept is based on new technologies, but uses a slightly sloping path, adapted for hikers. The traveler will film his adventures live for an hour, what he sees, what he feels, his exchanges with local personalities. The magic of the trip will take place through the interactions approved by the chat room, which allows residents to seize in writing in via a facilitator.We also send objects in a “sensory suitcase” which they discover while the traveler makes them discover the experience.

Example therefore in Saint-Paul de Vence, with the perfumer’s samples landing in homes. “As at the other end of the camera, several hundred kilometers away, the nose described its scent, the inhabitants could smell it. It is an immersive experience that appeals to the five senses.” For Pascal Guedj, “we are in a therapeutic metavers, via extended tourism (XR, Tourism Extend Reality), this very trendy sphere. “Nuance of size:” We do not make virtual reality at all. A majority of the French population does not support helmets. It is also a solution with quite inevitable disadvantages: the sessions are very short and reserved for small groups of two to four people ”.

The result: “At the end of the trip, their relief and well-being is noticeable for several days”

Upon arrival, the experiences allow progress towards the well-being of the participants. It appears from extracts of postcards, transferred by the witnesses to the travels, and which Stravvel presents. “Our residents had a real travel experience that aroused their five senses and they felt great emotions” (de Saint-Cyprien). “These tours are reminiscent of and strongly promote social ties” (de Thézan-lès-Béziers). A Balma nursing home went further: “These trips are suitable for people with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. This activates their emotional memory. And at the end of the trip, their relief and their well-being can be felt for several days ”.

In addition to the purely cognitive exercise, Pascal Guedj evokes another benefit: “The creation of social bonds that help self-esteem. We help maintain it between the residents, with the facilitator, the traveler, and the personalities we interview, whom we call hosts. We cater to the elderly, who after a certain age enter into a form of loss of autonomy. However, it has been shown by many studies: the social bond is the first lever to avoid falling into addiction ”. An alleged start-up from the “social and solidarity economy”, Stravvel defines itself “as a therapy through travel, escape and stimulation of the five senses”. But his greatest pride is to be considered “as what is called a Non-Drug Intervention (NMI), it is super important. There is a lot of talk about NMI in the healthcare environment because it is alternative therapies that avoid giving medication. And there are digital NMIs that we typically are. ” To be put in the luggage for well-being.

To read in our #Solutions file “How to take care of your health”

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