A virtual dementia tour bus designed to give people a feeling of what it is like to live with a dementia visited The Wolds Care Centre in Louth. The experience gave staff and family members a realistic glimpse into the condition that affects 920,000 people in the UK. The Virtual Dementia Bus recreates a home environment and 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 (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. Afterwards all attendees are given a de-briefing explaining everything that they went through.
HICA CEO Terry Peel said, “We were delighted to play host to the dementia bus. It is hugely important for us all to understand how dementia impacts on the lives of people affected, and equally it is important that we, as a care and support organisation understand this, so that we can provide compassionate, safe and effective care.”
The Wolds Care Centre were delighted to welcome people who had family members living in the home to take part in the experience. One of the attendees, whose mother has been diagnosed with the condition, said afterwards, “The dementia experience was not what I thought it would be. Frankly it was terrifying at times, the whole experience was disorientating. But I can certainly understand my mother a little better now, I can see why she sometimes reacts in certain ways. It was an extremely beneficial and enlightening experience.”
The Wolds Care Centre Manager Becky Gemmell added, “The virtual tour is a really eye-opening opportunity to gain insight into the daily struggles faced by those with dementia. We all need to understand dementia and modify what we do to support people who live with it.”
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 continuation of a series of events booked by HICA to help raise awareness of dementia in the community and to give their workforce an improved understanding of the daily lives of their service users.