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Kévin St-Martin


Baccalaureate of psychology at the University of Sherbrooke


Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Sherbrooke


Virtual reality as a tool in the fight against the victimisation of older adults


Scholarship from the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation – $5,000

Communication support scholarship from the University of Sherbrooke – $500


Winter 2019 to …


The proportion of the world population identified as ‘seniors’ (aged 65 and over) continues to rise1. It has become essential to implement initiatives that respond to the needs and difficulties encountered by older adults, notably mistreatment, intimidation, and ageism; three forms of victimisation that may have significant consequences for the physical, mental, and social health of older adults2. In this respect, the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desjardins Foundation initiated a project entitled ‘Les Ateliers 360’ (360o Workshops) that uses virtual reality to raise older adult’s awareness of these problems. However, to our knowledge, no study exists that directly examines the use of virtual reality in countering the different forms of victimisation that older adults may experience. Moreover, this technology is rarely used with this population to address issues of a social nature.


The aim of this project is to determine how older adults react to an activity that raises their awareness of victimisation through the use of virtual reality.


From the evaluation of certain aspects of Les Ateliers 360 (360o Workshops) activity conducted by the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation, this research project has three objectives :

  • Identify the elements of the activity that were chosen as positive or negative by the older adults;
  • Provide recommendations and ways to improve future awareness-raising activities utilising virtual reality;
  • Contribute a reflection on the role of virtual reality in the practice of social work.


This research project is done in parallel to the launch of the Ateliers 360 activity of the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation. Les Ateliers 360 activity aims to raise the population’s awareness of three types of victimisation with older adults as potential targets: mistreatment, intimidation and ageism. The research project primarily consists of a multiple-case study in which nine (9) special sessions of the activity will be examined and compared to each other. This project has three (3) stages: 1) the current state of knowledge of virtual reality and older persons; 2) a case study which includes a documentary analysis, an evaluation of artifacts, the administration of a sociodemographic questionnaire, direct observation of the activities and focus groups discussions; 3) the diffusion and transfer of knowledge.

Within the conceptual framework of the Moville model of the seven factors affecting client satisfaction and the theoretical framework of socio-emotional learning, the data will be analysed employing the qualitative data processing software NVivo. The results of this research project will ultimately lead to the production of a master’s thesis.  It is aimed at bringing better knowledge of older persons’ reactions when using virtual reality technology within the context of an awareness-raising activity on mistreatment, intimidation, and ageism.


An evaluation of the scoping review of the literature on the use of virtual reality technology by older adults was done using 16 electronic databases. In total, 4,691 documents were examined from 2018 to 2019, and 58 were retained for the production of the state of knowledge.

The project’s research process was documented and submitted to the Research Ethics Committee for evaluation. The project now awaits the approval of the Ethics Committee so it may move forward.


Presentation of a poster at the 48th Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting of the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) – 2019

Presentation of a poster at the 6th International REIACTIS Conference – 2020


Research Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults (2018). Virtual reality to counter intimidation of older adults: the state of knowledge. Unpublished document.