Last updated: 24.05.14

Care workers use virtual resources to understand dementia

Technology is playing an ever larger role in helping health and social care workers to understand conditions such as dementia and the effect they can have on patients. It can be difficult for careers to empathise with patients who are unable to explain what it's like to live with the symptoms of their condition.

But according to the Eastern Daily Press, care workers from a housing provider in Norfolk are using technology to better understand residents with the condition in their care. 

Staff at Flagship are using virtual reality technology and special clothing to recreate the sensory impairment from which people with dementia often suffer - because people with the condition find it hard to explain what they are feeling, it is believed that such approaches can provide carers with better first-hand knowledge.

The company in question specialises in housing for people with early stage dementia, so it is important that its staff are fully aware of what the condition entails. To this end, they will undertake the virtual sensory impairment training then also watch others going through the process.

Linda Milliken, services manager at the company, told the news provider: "The training gave a real insight into the challenges people with dementia face every day as well as an understanding of what it must feel like.

"Most people think dementia is just about memory loss, but as we experienced, it affects all the senses - hearing, sight and even mobility. To have to cope with just one of these on top of memory loss must be incredibly hard."

With the rising number of elderly people suffering from dementia and the Alzheimer's Society warning that this figure will only rise further, there is likely to be a larger burden placed on residential care in the years to come. 

For companies employing carers, training is vital in whatever form it takes. Virtual College runs a popular dementia awareness training course that also focuses on enabling carers to understand what life experience is like for people with dementia; as well as looking at simple techniques that can be used to help keep people with the condition independent for as long as possible.