People learned the experiences of those living with dementia by joining a special virtual reality (VR) training session in Wolverhampton.

Public sector staff, healthcare workers, faith representatives and system leaders took part in the Virtual Reality Dementia Training Tour, which was hosted by the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group and the City of Wolverhampton Council at the Guru Nanak Temple in Wednesfield.

The training, set up by and delivered by Caremark, aimed to provide people with the opportunity to experience the symptoms that affect a person living with dementia. It included distorting the participants’ senses, such as their touch, sight and vision.

The VR activity was then followed by a debrief, which allowed the participants to share their experiences, as well as learn more about the sensations they felt and how they would affect those with living with dementia on a daily basis.

There was also a pop up shop at the event, with colleagues from the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Carer Support Team, Compton Care, Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society showcasing the support they provide to those living with dementia, their carers and loved ones.

Becky Wilkinson, the council’s Director of Adult Social Care Services, said: “Dementia affects many people in our city, from those who have it themselves, to those who care for them and their loved ones – but in most cases, it is hard to understand what the person with dementia is actually experiencing.

“This training was an eye opening way of giving those who work to support those with dementia a first hand experience of what they may be going through, including how dementia can affect their senses and change their behaviour.

“Those taking part in the training left with a different perspective and a better understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, which they can now take into their work and further improve the support they can offer.”

Dementia is a debilitating illness estimated to affect more than 3,000 people in the city, with that number expected to rise by over 50% by 2035. Dementia does not just have a devastating effect on the individual, but also their families and friends. 

To find out more about support on offer in Wolverhampton for those living with dementia, please visit Dementia.  Anyone worried about dementia can contact the Alzheimer's Society for information and support either via its Dementia Connect phoneline, open 7 days a week on 0333 150 3456, or by visiting The Alzheimer's Society.

The Alzheimer's Society has granted Wolverhampton Dementia Friendly Community Status after recognising the work members of the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance are doing to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers.

It defines a Dementia Friendly Community as one where people living with dementia feel included and involved, have choice and control over their daily lives and are supported to contribute to the local community. It is also a place where other people are aware of dementia and understand the needs of people living with the condition.

For more details visit Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance.

The Wolverhampton Cares initiative, a partnership between organisations across the city, is designed to help Wolverhampton's vital health and social care sector through the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. To find out more visit Wolverhampton Cares