Dementia is a fact of life for thousands of Scots and their families – but what does it actually feel like to suffer from the disease?
That’s what some staff at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre tried to discover, as part of Dementia Awareness Week.
The aim of Dementia Awareness week (3-9th June 2019) is to encourage people and organisations to help in raising awareness of the disease and the impact it has on people and those around them.
At the Beatson, staff have been doing their bit too.
Nicky Donnelly, Cancer Clinical Educator said: “ To mark Dementia Awareness Week myself and a colleague wore the Dementia simulation suits and went on a walk round of the building to engage with staff about how it felt to be wearing this resource.
The Dementia Simulation suit helps to simulate ageing and impairs the movement of those wearing it, simulating some of the typical difficulties that people experience in older age, showing you how tiring it is not to be able to move fully, stopping you being able to freely move your joints, making it difficult to feel and move your hands and fingers and grip things.
Nicky added: “It also has a back piece that gives you a curvature of the spine so you can’t stand up and googles that give you a yellowing vision to replicate loss of sight and peripheral vision, typically associated with cataracts, while ear plugs can impair your hearing and awareness of your surroundings.”
“Our experience of wearing the suit was quite revealing as you truly appreciate the cognitive changes that people with Dementia experience; it really highlights the impact on people with this condition that without the suit you wouldn’t be able to understand.
“The wider staff enjoyed the experience of seeing us in the suits they were very engaged in asking vital questions of the Care of the Older Person Nurse who has been instrumental in raising awareness of the issues people with Dementia face.”