As the saying goes “walk a mile in my shoes, see what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel, then maybe you’ll understand why I do what I do, till then don’t judge me”. Ten Peninsula Care Home staff took part in a virtual Dementia Tour to try and do just that. It is evidence based medically & scientifically proven to be the closest experience that a person with a healthy brain can experience what it might be like to be living with dementia.
Of course every individual is different and over 100 types of dementia the effect on a person will be different. However the eight minute long tour helped our staff be more empathic by experiencing first hand physical and mental challenges potentially facing those living with dementia.
Our staff described the experience as scary, isolating, confusing and emotional. Personally I was largely frustrated. The facilitator guided you through some common everyday tasks and exercises while you are fitted with devices that alter your senses. My frustration was because I hadn’t heard the instructions, I didn’t know what I was meant to be doing, my vision was distorted, I was fumbling to grip due to the gloves, and the continual noise playing in the headphones was driving me to distraction.
I think as each staff member returned to work they couldn’t help but reflect on their recent experience. Asking themselves how they could be better at their role, how they could improve lives of those in our care by not exacerbating potential problems and by remembering what it may feel like to walk in their shoes.
Peninsula Care Homes hopes to be able to bring the virtual tour back to Devon so more of our staff can experience. If you wish to learn more visit http://www.training2care.co.uk/.
May 15-21st is Dementia Awareness Week across the UK with over 850,000 people already living with dementia, this is expected to increase to 1 million by 2025 in the UK and it’s important we understand more. Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging anyone who is worried about dementia to get in touch with them via their website or by calling them on 0300 222 1122.
What is Dementia?
Dementia describes a group of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by a disease. It affects daily life and is progressive. Research is continuously searching for cures and ultimately how to prevent the disease in the first instance.
Within Peninsula Care Homes we are fully committed to improving our knowledge and understanding of dementia. Our staff attend training on a wide range of areas including explanations of the disease and its progression but arguably more importantly ways to support those in our care living with dementia. All four of our residential homes specialise in Dementia care: Coppelia House in Moretonhampstead, Cornerways in Paignton, Parkland House in Exeter and Plymbridge House in Plympton.
In our upcoming blogs we will share tips and learnings from the training that we receive, why we’ve made changes to our homes interiors and what we discovered on our virtual dementia tour. The tour hopes to show what it’s like to live with dementia. More spaces are currently available via Exeter Dementia Action Alliance website for Monday 23rd May.
Many of our staff have become a Dementia Friend or Dementia Friend Champion. There are a number of sessions being held across Devon during Dementia Awareness Week if you want to learn more. The talks can be booked via the Alzheimer’s Society website.
The coming week is an opportunity for us all to become more aware of dementia, becoming aware of how to help those living with it and those affected by it. Follow us on Twitter @PeninsulaCare1 and join the conversation using #DAW2016 to raise the awareness.