Dementia kit helps carers experience disease symptoms

carers using dementia training kit
Image caption Families and carers have been using the kit to get an insight into life with dementia

A training kit designed to allow people to experience what it could be like to live with dementia has been introduced at a Londonderry nursing home.

It uses specially adapted goggles, gloves and headphones to replicate the symptoms of the condition.

The dementia experience is being made available to relatives and carers at Longfield Care Home.

The condition can affect perception, memory, decision making, communication and orientation.

Louise McCloskey, the care home's manager, said it was about allowing people to get an insight into the difficulties of daily living that the condition can present.

She said dementia care was "totally unique."

"It is something everyone needs to know about. This dementia experience is so important, this is where people with dementia are coming from," she added.

The move comes after Four Seasons Health Care group began rolling out training to staff, using the kit, in 2016.

Derry's deputy Mayor John Boyle said the experience deepened his understanding of dementia.

Image caption Derry's deputy Mayor John Boyle said everyday tasks seemed impossible

"All of the senses are impaired and it would have taken me hours to complete the relatively simple tasks. Putting on a matching shirt and tie, sorting a deck of cards, was impossible, or seemed like it was.

"It was very, very frustrating, and that was only for 15 minutes," he said.

There are believed to be more than 20,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland.