Legal Experts Experience What It Is Like To Live With Condition
Legal experts from law firm Irwin Mitchell got to experience what life with dementia is like when a virtual reality bus came to visit Newbury.
The Virtual Dementia Tour deprives users of their primary senses, to simulate the anxiety and frustration people living with dementia go through on a daily basis.
The operator, Training2Care, hope the experience, which is based in a converted bus, will give people a better understanding of dementia and improve care standards.
Private client experts at Irwin Mitchell’s Newbury office, Stewart Stretton-Hill and Ben Saunders, who both campaign to raise awareness of the condition, took part in the interactive experience, organised by Dementia Friendly Community Programme Officer, Sue Butterworth.
Describing the experience, which took place on 15th March, the pair said being on the bus made them feel anxious and frustrated, as it deprived them of their ability to understand the world around them.
Expert Opinion“Without giving too much away the experience impaired our vision, touch and hearing, making it very difficult to understand and interact with our environment.
Being on the bus played with our ability to understand simple instructions and the information being provided to us. It was a very unnerving situation and a small glimpse into the impact dementia can have on daily life.
I was very cautious moving about the bus. I began to realise I was hunched over as I shuffled around. Most importantly it highlighted to us the importance of understanding and patience when interacting with people who are living with dementia. Stewart Stretton-Hill - Senior Associate Solicitor
Irwin Mitchell is committed to becoming a dementia-friendly law firm and, with the Alzheimer’s Society’s national Dementia Awareness Week (14 to 20 May 2017) fast-approaching; are trying to highlight the need for greater understanding of the challenges faced by people living with dementia and their families.
Solicitor Ben Saunders is a Dementia Friends Champion who runs sessions for his colleagues, members of the public and local businesses.
Ben has trained over 104 Dementia Friends in the past 12 months, who have been encouraged to go home and spread the word to family and friends about what they have learnt about the challenges of dementia and how to overcome them.
Expert OpinionOne crucial method of spreading dementia awareness in Newbury and the surrounding areas, is for people to attend Dementia Friends information sessions. These are informal sessions run by volunteers which explain simply the ways in which dementia can change people’s lives.
The key focus of the sessions, however, is that there is always more to the person than the dementia and that, with an early diagnosis and appropriate support from family, friends and professionals, it is possible for people to live well with dementia for many years.
Ben Saunders - Solicitor
Stewart and Ben also help to run the local Dementia Action Alliance (which brings together the local authority, NHS and other statutory bodies) and the Newbury Dementia Forum (a more informal group of professionals and volunteers who organise dementia-friendly activities for the local community).
If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or know somebody who might benefit from the support and information provided by Dementia Friends and the Alzheimer’s Society please go to https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ and search for your nearest information session, or contact Stewart or Ben in Irwin Mitchell’s Newbury office on 01635 571034.