Dedicated carers have been given an insight of what it is like to live with dementia.
All staff from care provider EveryDay, a social enterprise owned by charity Age UK North Tyneside, undertook a ‘virtual dementia experience’ to put themselves into the shoes of people with the condition.
Staff had their senses and movements restricted, and were deliberately made to feel confused as part of the experience.
The aim is to give staff the best chance possible of understanding what people with dementia are facing every day, and to support their families and carers to continue in their caring and supportive role.
Viv Kirby, Care at Home Manager at Crossgates, said: “The purpose of the training is to put the carers in the position of somebody living with dementia to experience, potentially, what they are experiencing, which will give them an insight into how the way we care has an impact on them.
“Everyone has found it really beneficial, a real eye-opener into the impact of things which we would do with people on a daily basis – preparing food, our approach and how we talk to people.
“I did the training myself and I found it amazing.”
Recent research revealed dementia has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, with the condition accounting for more than one in eight of all deaths.
EveryDay staff work with many people living with various forms of the condition at three well-being centres and within care at home in North Tyneside, as well as providing a specialist dementia service in Newcastle.
Staff at all three wellbeing centres and in Extra Care Schemes (independent living), as well as staff working in the community, have all taken part in the virtual dementia experience.
Personal Support Assistant at Crossgates, Ashleigh McDine, said: “I had insoles in my shoes which were really uncomfortable, headphones on with sirens and music going off and I could barely see anything out of the glasses I had on.
“It was hard to go through but a good insight into how the everyday lives of people living with dementia might be.
“It was an eye-opening experience and it will definitely change the way I work and hopefully help to change the lives of the people we work with for the better.”
Maureen Rankin, a personal support assistant at Crossgates in Wallsend, added: “It really brought home how the people we support might be feeling.
“For parts of it I was absolutely terrified but it was definitely worth it. I will do my job better because of it.”
EveryDay has also developed its own 3Ds training – standing for depression, dementia and delirium – which helps staff to understand the three conditions and how they overlap for older people.
The training is delivered by highly-trained Admiral Nurses who specialise in mental health care for older people.
The company is looking to hire experienced care staff especially for the dementia service in both North Tyneside and Newcastle. Interested parties should contact EveryDay on 0191 2877011.
For more information on EveryDay head to https://www.everydayuk.org/specialist-health-care/ or call 0191 287 7028.