Experience Dementia in a Whole New Way: Dartford Care Service Uses VR Technology to Offer Valuable Insight

Virtual reality technology offers unique insight into dementia for sufferers and loved ones, according to the owners of Home Instead Dartford.

As Dementia Action Week approaches, Ram Thapa and Christina Uppenkamp, owners of the Dartford-based care service, are eager to spread awareness about the condition and the benefits of using VR technology to understand it.

With over 900,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia, this number is expected to reach one million in the next seven years. Ram and Christina want to educate people on what it is like to live with the condition, and how their VR experience can offer valuable insight.

The VR experience aims to replicate the daily challenges faced by those with dementia, allowing loved ones and caregivers to understand and support them better. Participants complete three everyday tasks – shopping, walking home, and making a cup of tea – while wearing the VR headset. This immersive experience simulates the limited vision and confusion that people with dementia often experience.

Ram explains that the VR technology has a profound impact on those who try it: “People have told me they feel horrible after the videos because it’s upsetting, but it helps them understand what it’s like to be in the shoes of someone with dementia.”

Christina adds, “Dementia is more than just losing memories. It can affect speech, concentration, motor skills, and even personality. It’s crucial for people to understand the complexities of the condition so they can provide the right support.”

Along with the VR experience, Home Instead Dartford also partners with Training 2 Care to offer the Dementia Bus – a medical research-based simulation that replicates the sensory changes associated with dementia. This includes uneven floors, impaired vision, and heightened noises.

Ram and Christina hope that by educating people about dementia, they can break down the stigma and fear surrounding it. They also encourage others to get involved in Dementia Action Week (May 13 – 19) and take action towards improving dementia diagnosis rates. As they explain, “It’s essential for everyone to learn about dementia because it could affect us or our loved ones in the future.”

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