Understanding dementia is not just about knowing the difference between Alzheimer's disease and Vascular dementia, knowing about the plaques and tangles that strangle the brain cells causing havoc with daily life, it is so much more.
Experiencing what it's like to live with mid stage dementia as I did yesterday in a’ Virtual Dementia Tour bus experience’ has had a unbelievable effect on me and the way I want my staff to be trained and in turn care for our clients with dementia.
For just eight minutes I had my whole life purpose removed but it felt like hours!
I know that life can be confusing with dementia but I had no idea how debilitating, isolating, scary and confusing it could be.
As I observed my team experience what I had, it was as terrifying to watch as it was to go through myself - with loud noises in my ears, restricted vision, pins and needles in my feet, having someone who I couldn't see or hear properly try to feed me yogurt and stroke my hair was both paralysing and terrifying.
Many of us cried as we came back into our world again, some because the experience was so scary and for some because it had given them a chance to really understand what their clients live with 24/7.
This experience has changed my whole outlook on dementia, still makes me want to burst into tears at the memory and also has made me even more determined to change how we look after people trying to make sense of a world where this dreadful disease is doing all it can to make it as confusing as possible.