Experiences are crucial in shaping our lives. We take inspiration from our everyday adventures. Some may argue that every incident that we go through, be it good or bad, is a memorable one that we should treasure. After all, we do learn from our mistakes. But, what about sickness?
Diseases fall into the class of unpredictable nuisances that all of us have to deal with at some point or the other. Now, what if somebody told you that there’s a way you could turn a disease into an experience?
Unbelievably enough, a combination of virtual reality with dementia has been achieved and this hybrid model could make us see this illness in a whole new light. A VR initiative has paved way for users to feel and see in world in a way that people with dementia do.
What Is Dementia?
The term dementia was coined to describe a wide range of brain disorders which are severe enough to alter a person’s entire life. The most common type of brain disease that falls into this category is Alzheimer’s, which is related to memory loss.
In addition to memory loss, dementia generally attacks a person’s ability to communicate, pay attention, reason with others and visual perception among others. The symptoms begin with a harmless “forgot to pay the bill” kind of things and then go into a full throttle mode of complete state of vagueness.
Thinking how VR will allow you to feel the same way? Read on to find out.
VR And Dementia
Let us relate to you the narrative of a Hannah Fox who visited the Virtual Dementia Tour run by Training2Care (a private training provider for the care industry), in Surrey, England. Hannah says that before you’re immersed into the actual experience, you’ve to wear sight reducing glasses, gloves, earphones and insoles that give you a prickly feeling in your feet (which is a major discomfort).
After this, the user is given minor tasks like getting dressed, writing a sentence, setting the table, etc. in a simulated homely environment. As the VR simulation begins, Hannah says that she felt her hands were useless in the gloves and most of the room was invisible to her because of the glasses. Moreover, her feet were in constant discomfort as she tried to walk across the room to fold a pair of socks. When people came to talk to her, she heard them but couldn’t comprehend what they said which made her feel self conscious and agitated.
This is only a scaled-down manifestation of what a person suffering from dementia must feel every single day. PK Beville, an American psychologist, developed this VR experience in order to educate the people who were constantly in contact with or took care of people suffering from dementia. He thinks this would make them understand their agony better and reduce the usage of anti-psychotic medication for not-so-severe cases.
The Virtual Dementia Tour has become mobile and hence, it’s a truck that can give you a glimpse into the world of dementia. It has also been delivered to care providers, fire services, police services and many other organizations to help them understand this condition better.