Imagine not only having trouble with your memory, but also facing changes in your vision and perception. That's exactly what many people living with dementia experience on a daily basis. In order to better understand what it's like, a new virtual reality tour has been created to give people a sense of what it's really like to live with the memory-robbing disease.
Geriatric specialist PK Beville has designed a "mobile virtual dementia tour" to allow people to literally walk in the shoes of dementia patients, to better understand their struggles.
The system includes eyeglasses, headphones, gloves and special shoe insoles, all of which affect the senses. The aim is to mimic the sort of difficulty in communicating and confusion experienced by those with dementia.
The company is hoping to take the experience all over the UK to raise awareness.
"People experience absolutely everything that dementia sufferers go through," the company's managing director, Glenn Knight, told SWNS. “We put insoles into their shoes to represent peripheral neuropathy where the nerve endings die in your feet and in your hands."
Knight likened the experience to walking on a rocky beach without shoes on, causing you to shuffle your feet. The "tour" also makes simple tasks like grasping a teddy bear or buttoning one's shirt challenging, due to reduced peripheral vision, tingling gloves and constant white noise and other sounds in the ears.
According to the Alzheimer's Society, people with dementia can experience vision changes, causing changed perception and difficulty identifying items.
Dementia affects millions of people around the world, and the tour's creators hope it can help citizens and health professionals understand patients better.
Just in September of last year, nursing students became the first in the UK to test the system and understand the frustrations that daily life can bring for people with dementia.
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