As part of National Dementia Awareness Week, we hosted a Virtual Dementia Tour on Friday 19 May at our offices in Maidstone and Stratford-upon-Avon. Over 50 members of staff were able to take part in experience that gave them both an emotional and physical understanding of what it might be like to live with the disease on a day-to-day basis.
Facilitated by Training2care, the Virtual Dementia Tour is a hands-on experience that uses gloves, headphones and special glasses to distort participant’s surroundings and recreate the emotions felt by people who with dementia.
Emily Finlyson, communications consultant based in Stratford says; ““The Virtual Dementia Tour was a real eye opener. To experience what someone living with dementia may be feeling was mind-blowing. The tour will go a lot further in helping educate and support staff who care for those with dementia, as it is easier to empathise and understand when you have had a taster of the difficulties those you care for face. It is the little things like having a smile on your face that can really make a difference. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who wants to build and develop their knowledge.”
Trudy Moss, development assistant in Maidstone says; “I had pre-conceived ideas of what I thought living with dementia would be like – however going through this tour has made me re-evaluate.Putting myself momentarily in a world that is a constant for someone living with dementia made me feel scared, isolated, intimidated and in constant pain – but for me I could change all that by simply taking off the gloves, headphones and glasses and my senses returned to normal. For those living with dementia it’s not that simple – this session gave me a valuable insight into how we could make their lives a little easier on a daily basis.”
As dementia progresses, people become increasingly vulnerable and able to live less independently without high levels of support. This is often accompanied by increased reports of disruptive and abusive behaviour and concerns over health and safety. The person living with the disease also often feels rejected, socially isolated and lonely.
Over 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia and that number is set to soar to over a million by 2025 and two million by 2051. 225,000 people will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. One in six people over the age of 80 have dementia and 40,000 people under the age of 65. Two thirds of people living with dementia are women and the number of people diagnosed with dementia is increasing because people are living longer. Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that affect the brain. The most common is Alzheimer's but diseases also include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies and Pick's disease.