THE Mayor of Winchester experienced the sensory effects of dementia with the Virtual Dementia Tour at Westacre Nursing Home.

The Virtual Dementia Tour is a mobile service which uses the latest innovations in virtual technology to give an immersive sensory experience of dementia – a condition that affects 850,000 people in the UK. Westacre Nursing Home invited the Mayor, Cllr Eleanor Bell, as well as other members of the Winchester community to experience what dementia might be like.

Educational studies from Ulster University have shown that this Virtual Dementia Tour is the most realistic experience for a person with a healthy brain to understand the effects of dementia.

Attendees wore headphones to understand the difficulty of hearing things accurately. Glasses were also worn to stress the difficulties with eyesight due to the changes in the brain.

One of the main senses that is affected by dementia is touch. As the condition progresses, a loss of sensations occurs and those with developed cases become unable to interpret heat, cold, or discomfort. Visitors to the Virtual Dementia Tour were given specialist gloves which replicated the sensations that people with dementia feel.

Cllr Bell said: “Dementia affects many people, however, few of us truly understand the impact of dementia on individuals. After experiencing Westacre Nursing Home’s Virtual Dementia Tour, I can safely say that I understand the condition significantly better.”

Diana Hearn, manager of Westacre, said: “The Virtual Dementia Tour is one of the most realistic experiences of dementia available. We used it to train our staff so they can better understand the residents they care for. However, we also believe it equally important for the public to improve their understanding of what it’s like living with a form of dementia.”