A mobile virtual dementia tour bus designed to give people a feeling of what it is like to live with dementia visited Cranwell Court in Grimsby to give staff and people from the community a realistic glimpse into the condition that affects 850,000 people in the UK. The Mobile Virtual Dementia Bus allows people to experience the isolation and fear that people with dementia may experience every day. Wearing goggles to replicate impaired vision, gloves to restrict movement and shoe inserts to create peripheral neuropathy (weakness, numbness and pain in the feet), all conditions associated with dementia. As participants tried to perform daily activities, amplified sounds, flashing lights and restricted movement trapped them into a simulated world of fear and frustration. After the experience all attendees are given a de-briefing explaining everything they went through.
HICA CEO Terry Peel said, “The experience was extremely thought provoking and a fantastic way to develop an understanding of what people living with dementia might experience. I believe this will enable staff to improve the care they deliver and for people in the community to be able to have a level of empathy for people with dementia.”
Cranwell Court were delighted to play host to many members of the community who came along, some of whom have family members residing in the home. They were especially delighted to welcome some students from nearby Grimsby and Franklin Colleges who were amazed by the experience, one of whom said, “It was a bit scary but very educational. I can’t believe how much it affects people in everything they do.”
Another of the attendees, whose uncle was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 93, said afterwards, “The dementia experience was quite scary; I was unable to think clearly or move about with ease. The whole experience was disorientating. I can now see that people with dementia are not detached and aggressive, but confused, isolated and frightened. I wish I’d taken part in the tour before my Uncle died in 2017. I would have been able to understand him a bit better and improve the way I acted around him
Activity Coordinator Jacky Aisthorpe said of the experience, “It was a real eye-opener. This has made me much more aware of the different aspects of dementia. We all need to understand dementia and adjust what we do to care.”
The life changing Virtual Dementia Tour is available anywhere in the United Kingdom and is run in the UK by Training 2 Care. More information can be obtained by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The experience was the first of a series of events booked by local care company The HICA Group to help raise awareness of dementia in the community and to help improve the care delivered to their service users on a daily basis.