On Tuesday 30th May we hosted the Virtual Dementia Tour Bus at Safeharbour. This bus is a simulator that gives a person with a healthy brain an experience of what dementia might be like.
Those who took part in the experience were given tasks to do in the bus, however abilities were influenced by the environment and made this much more difficult. After completing the allotted time on the bus, the trainer had a debrief with all the participants. There were so many interesting points to consider when caring for people living with dementia.
It wasn’t just our staff who took part in this experience, in attendance we had the pleasure of the Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr Gurdip Bungar and also had staff from Hatten Wyatt who have chosen us as their chosen charity of the year, local business owners. We don’t want to give too much of the experience away but strongly encourage everyone who has the opportunity to have go. It really is eye opening! It is a transformative experience for the participants. It increased their empathy, understanding, and awareness of the challenges faced by individuals with dementia.
We would like to thank Training2Care for delivering such an excellent experience.
We would also like to thank Dementia Friendly Kent for funding the experience and making this possible.
Here is what some of the participants had to say about the experience:
“It was a massive eye opener for me to experience what some PLwD (people living with dementia) are going through. I have to admit that I failed to complete a single one of the tasks because I didn’t/couldn’t hear the trainer’s instructions. But I assume this is not a bad thing as it might be a realistic situation for a PLwD. I would love to do it again some time to see if I manage to fare better if I concentrate harder but with all the “kit” on I probably wouldn’t be able to follow all the instructions. Anyway, it was an incredible experience and I have been spreading the word to people I know who have loved ones with dementia.”
– Denise O
“It was an extremely insightful experience and has left us all feeling pleased that we have chosen ADSS as our Charity of the Year. I thought the team that helped run this were fantastic and extremely knowledgeable; it was comforting to know that those that living with dementia have a team of people behind them supporting them and educating others. Thank you for all of your continued hard work.”
“The Dementia Bus was a positive experience. It certainly helped me to understand more what PLwD may go through on a day-to-day basis, and what challenges they face. It must be so confusing and frightening. This will help me further in my role of Dementia Coordinator when carers have questions or worries about their loved one’s changing behaviour. It would be good if the Dementia Bus experience ran more frequently, so more people including carers and family member of PLwD and Healthcare professionals supporting PLwD have the chance to try to understand what Dementia can feel like. I would certainly encourage people to experience the Dementia Bus.”
-Bryony Deniz, Dementia Coordinator
“I was really pleased to be invited to visit the virtual dementia tour bus and found it an extremely interesting experience. The brief talk afterwards was also beneficial and of interest as it explained the reason for using china rather than plastic cups and also mentioned colour recognition, of plates for example, as the illness progresses. I was also previously unaware that people living with dementia experience pins and needles in their feet which contributes to their shuffling way of walking, as well as them perceiving something as simple as a black mat on the floor as something completely different which they do not want to step on or step over.”
“I found the experience insightful and made me have more of an understanding of what people living with dementia experience. It was eye-opening to experience first-hand some of the challenges they face daily.One of the tasks I was given was tying a tie, and although I eventually managed to put it on, it was a struggle that took me quite some time. This encounter truly opened my eyes to the experiences of PLwD. The trainer who guided us throughout the experience was exceptional. They provided a comprehensive debrief, explaining the purpose and significance of the equipment we used. Their expertise enhanced the learning process, ensuring that we made the most of the simulation.”
-Ese Ediale, Communications Coordinator
“The experience really helped me to broaden my understanding of dementia and gave me the opportunity to experience first-hand the frustrations and challenges people with dementia experience on a daily basis by allowing us to ‘walk in their shoes’. By understanding the everyday issues faced by a person living with dementia, we can try new ways to communicate, understand behaviours, reduce some of the frustration and anxiety and help to improve their lives. The experience was amazing and I’m happy that I got a chance to be a part of this amazing training.”
– Sara Morrissey, Dementia Coordinator
“I could relate to aspects of the bus especially the loud noises, also when I was being spoken to amongst the noise, I couldn’t hear him properly. The other aspects will help me further down the line when my husband feels them.”
– Sheila S – wife and carer of someone we support living with dementia.
“Taking part in the dementia tour bus was really eye opening to the daily struggles people living with dementia face. It was a relief when the experience ended and to think that there is no end to those feelings for someone with dementia is a humbling thought. This was an experience I will never forget.”
– Natalie R
“I was quite apprehensive before my experience of the Dementia bus as I had no idea what to expect, it was a real eye opener! It really highlighted the things that could be daily challenges for people with Dementia.
I really struggled with the glasses and noise element of the experience and found it extremely difficult to focus on anything else, so much so that I didn’t complete a single task! Afterwards this prompted interesting discussions with the trainer and the others who were in my group, I would definitely recommend this experience to gain real insight and understanding.”
– Penny B