Take a Walk with Dementia

Losing the car keys, forgetting names and forgetting the way home.  These are some of the symptoms often associated with dementia.  But do you really know what it’s like to live with dementia every day?  There are other, less known, symptoms too, but often only the person with dementia is aware of them and onlookers may not notice them.   If you are caring for a senior with dementia, you are familiar with some of the symptoms of dementia, and you try your best to deal with them.  However, what is going on inside the head of that senior has probably been a mystery to you.  Unless you can have a better understanding  of  what they are going through you may not be able to connect to your senior and provide the care that they really need.  Well, for the first time ever, you now have the opportunity to take a virtual walk in the shoes of someone who has dementia.  

Google UK has partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) to create a virtual reality experience that provides users a 3D vision of what it might be like to complete simple, everyday tasks if you suffer from dementia.  ARUK wanted to show that the symptoms of dementia are more complex than the general public realizes.  They started by holding focus groups with people who suffer from dementia and their caregivers in order come up with a list of symptoms.  Along with other technology companies, they then created the first virtual reality dementia experience.

They have created 3 different scenarios; walking home, shopping at the grocery store and making tea.  They are able to show the experience from the point of view of the person with dementia and demonstrate how the thought processes and perceptions are impaired.  These important symptoms are often unnoticed by family and caregivers, but they have a profound affect on a person’s ability to manage everyday tasks.

You can download the Walking With Dementia app for free on Google’s Play Store, or watch them on YouTube for your own virtual 3D experience.

I understand that not everyone who suffers from dementia will have the same symptoms and experiences, but I think that having an understanding of the profoundly different ways that they process their experiences can have a positive effect on your interaction with them.  After viewing this 3D experience, you may be more able to make your senior feel less fearful and understood.  And isn’t that the goal of being a good caregiver?

If you have questions or want to respond to this post?  Please leave a comment!

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