Service aims to raise awareness about the debilitating effects of dementia

Former England Cricketeer Derek Pringle gets headphones placed on him by Glenn Knight, managing dire

Former England Cricketeer Derek Pringle gets headphones placed on him by Glenn Knight, managing director of Training2Care, before trying out the virtual dementia tour at Mistley Manor. - Credit: Su Anderson

A pioneering service that aims to raise awareness about the debilitating effects of dementia was launched yesterday in north Essex.

The Mobile Virtual Dementia Tour consists of a mini-bus equipped with a mocked up living space. People entering the space are given dark glasses to obscure their vision and headphones playing white noise to simulate the sensory confusion caused by dementia. Prickly shoe inserts and gloves are also worn to further impede visitors. Simple tasks like finding a matching pair of socks become frustratingly difficult, communicating with people becomes exhausting.

The mobile service is being delivered by Kelvedon-based training company Traing2Care who aim to take the minibus to local councils, businesses, schools and care homes, so people have a greater appreciation of the effects of dementia and can alter their approach to dealing and caring for them accordingly.

“Unless you can walk in the shoes of people who have dementia and get a window into their world you cannot change the environment and situations that will improve their lives,” said Training2Care’s managing director Glenn Knight.

“We only see things from our point of view. It is often said that people with dementia are challenging but they are only doing what we would do in the same situation. If carers are being challenged or attacked it is the situation and environment that is wrong not the person.”


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Mr Knight said there is a need for more awareness around dementia because the number of people with the condition is growing dramatically.

According to the Alzheimer’s Research UK charity, there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. By 2025 the number is expected to rise to over one million and by 2050 it is projected to exceed 2million.

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Also at the launch, which took place at Mistley Manor care home in Mistley, were former Essex and England cricketers Peter Such and Derek Pringle who were on hand to promote the new service. Also present was PK Beville, a psychology nurse from the US who invented the Virtual Dementia Tour a decade ago and has so far seen it taken up in 17 countries.

She added: “It’s time we were much more open about the effects of dementia in our communities and that we pitched in and provided more help for the families caring for people with the condition.”

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