Virtual Dementia Tour
As a Dementia Friends Champion, I had some understanding of what dementia is and how it affects the brain; however, I would certainly not purport myself to be an expert or professional in the field. Some people may not have personally experienced the physical and mental challenges that those with dementia face on a daily basis, and by placing myself in their shoes at the Virtual Dementia Tour, I was able to see first hand the issues they face and consider what actions we could all do to promote an ability to live well with dementia.
The Virtual Dementia Tour is a fully immersive experience delivered by Training2Care, and is scientifically proven to be the closest experience for someone fit and healthy of what dementia might be like. By experiencing what life is like for someone living with dementia, we can look to reduce issues and promote an ability to live well.
The tour itself takes a matter of minutes, and I had an overwhelming feeling of vulnerability throughout after being stripped of my clear vision, hearing and fine motor skills. I was bossed around, led to places I could not see and told to do things that I did not understand. I would not like to be treated in this way anyway, so why should we treat those living with dementia like this?
After the tour itself, we sat down and discussed how we all felt and the reasons why we had been supplied certain pieces of limiting equipment. The entire experience really made me think. If everyone had an increased understanding, then surely we could all do our bit to help.
I would encourage anyone who can to take part in a Virtual Dementia Tour. It may only provide you with a small window of time to experience what those living with dementia experience on a daily basis, but it will change your perception entirely and encourage and empower you to turn your understanding into action and want to do something to help those living with dementia.
What actions could you take now? One action can be to take part in a Dementia Friends Information Session. The Dementia Friends programme is an initiative set up by the Alzheimer’s Society, and the sessions are run by volunteer Dementia Friends Champions. The sessions last for approximately 45 minutes and cover key messages that the Society want everyone to know about dementia, and help people to think about what they could do to help. No action is too big or too small. At Whitehead Monckton, over 60% of our staff are Dementia Friends, and we have pledged to increase this to 100%.
If you would like to find out more about the Dementia Friends initiative or attend an Information Session, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk to search for a session in your local area, or contact one of our Dementia Friends Champions here.