Helping carers to understand the bewildering and disorientating day-to-day world of people with dementia is at the heart of an initiative being rolled out by older people’s care specialist The Abbeyfield Society.
Abbeyfield is deploying a mobile dementia simulator in partnership with Training 2 Care UK Ltd to travel the breadth of the country to give care professionals a window into the world of dementia, to increase their understanding of the condition and revolutionise care.
The only one of its kind in the country, the mobile dementia simulator gives those on board the chance to experience first-hand how people living with dementia see the world and interact within it. The simulator uses methods and equipment that alter the senses so users experience the often frightening and upsetting reality of what daily life can be like for someone with dementia.
The dementia simulator is the brainchild of US-based internationally renowned geriatrics specialist, PK Beville, who is visiting Abbeyfield New Malden to give a dementia master class to carers coinciding with the dementia tour launch.
April Dobson, Head of Dementia Innovation at The Abbeyfield Society said: “This is an absolutely unique and mind-changing approach to dementia care, which has completely changed my perception of what life is like for people living with the condition. And as the simulator is fully mobile we are able to take it into the heart of communities around the country.
“Through Abbeyfield’s dementia tour, we want to help carers think differently about dementia by offering them a window into the world of what life is like for people with this condition. It’s a world which can be frightening, stressful and upsetting, but by learning about the realities of dementia we can implement far-reaching and improved care provision that is radical in its approach and methods.”
Around 20 care professionals a day will experience the simulator training, which has been brought to the UK by dementia training specialists, Training 2 Care UK Ltd and is endorsed by Skills for Care, the employer-led workforce development body for adult social care in England.
Abbeyfield’s dementia tour will also be accessible for people caring for family members with dementia at home, as part of Abbeyfield’s commitment to reach of out and engage with the wider communities around its 500 houses and homes across throughout the UK.
The tour is kick-starting a year of action for dementia care by Abbeyfield to coincide with the charity’s 60th anniversary.
Figures from the Alzheimer’s Society show that one in six people over 80 are living with dementia. The condition currently affects 850,000 people in the UK, with the number forecast to rise to one million by 2025.
Abbeyfield chief executive, Natasha Singarayer said: “We have a moral sense and obligation to make a difference to the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who are living with dementia. Using our resources and expertise as a leading older people’s housing and care specialist we are on target to set new standards in the care and wellbeing of those living with dementia.”
Glenn Knight, managing director of Training 2 Care UK Ltd said: "Over the next 20 years we will see a massive rise in the UK’s older population and, with this, a substantial increase in the number of people living with dementia. With our bodies out-living our brains we need to work together to find the best way of making the dementia journey easier for our loved ones, care staff and communities. The commitment shown by Abbeyfield to make a difference to the care of people with dementia is amazing. And empowering the local communities around their houses and homes to truly understand what needs to change in their environment, actions and care is refreshing in today’s ever-changing health care system.”