Posted: Wed 21st Mar 2018

Virtual tour gives unique insight into life with dementia for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 21st, 2018

Have you ever wondered what day to day life is like for people living with dementia?

This week dozens of workers involved in the care sector and passers-by in town have taken part in the Virtual Dementia Tour, which has been based on Queens Square since Wednesday.

Taking place in a small bus, the virtual experience aims to give participants an experience of what life is like for people living with dementia.

On Thursday joined in with one of the afternoon sessions and took part in the virtual tour.

Spilt into two sections and taking around two and a half hours to complete, like a number of other people taking part in the session, we weren’t overly sure on what to expect.

Groups of three are taken onto the bus and to make sure there are no spoilers or indication of what to expect, there were no opportunities to immediately speak to members of the groups after they had completed their tour.

Without giving too much away once inside the bus, your senses and fine motor skills are challenged, making the most basic of tasks difficult and seemingly impossible.

You’re later told that everyone reacts differently inside the bus and that everyone takes away a different experience. However the aim is that everyone has a clearer understanding of life with dementia and the small things you can do to help make a person’s life easier.

The second part of the session is an explainer and discussion about why you were put into the various situations and made to feel a certain way whilst in the bus.

This, coupled with the tour itself, provides a engaging insight into the various stages and types of dementia.

Clare Roberts, secretary of Dementia Friendly Wrexham and manager of Haulfryn Care Home, explained that a number of local groups have helped bring the bus to Wrexham, with the hope that it will be a beneficial experience for the town.

She said: “We’re working with local organisations to help them become dementia friendly.”

“This can be achieved by making small changes such as ensuring there is appropriate signage, or staff members having a Dementia Friends session so they’re more aware of what the person living with dementia may need extra support with.

“Our aim is to enable those living with dementia within our communities to live their lives as they would for longer.

“We facilitate and promote Dementia Friends sessions, and over the last year have delivered this session to over 500 people, win the number growing on a weekly basis.

“The idea of the bus was bought to us as a group and we felt it would be beneficial for different people in Wrexham to experience it.

“This was arranged through Wrexham Council workforce development team who targeted front of house employees who would not usually fall into the category of receiving dementia training.

“Abbeyfield Independent Supported Living, Wrexham Fire Service and Wales and West Housing were also involved in having the bus in Wrexham with them having their own delegates on their days.”

Interested in finding out more? The virtual reality tour is on Queens Square between 9am and 4:30pm today (Friday 23rd March), so why not pop down and try it out for yourself!

You can find out more about Dementia Friendly Wrexham here. More information about the Virtual Dementia Tour can be found here.

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