Dementia staff have senses impaired during training to increase understanding of living with condition

Ivy Court Care team members prepare for the dementia training scheme.

Ivy Court Care team members prepare for the dementia training scheme. - Credit: Archant

Staff at a city care home have been given an insight into life with dementia as part of a new training scheme.

Members of Ivy Court Care Home, on Ivy Road, Norwich, donned gloves, glasses, and ear plugs, before entering a room staged to further impair their senses - to give them a taste of the challenges people with the condition face daily.

Michele Saunders, who runs the scheme, said: 'We're immersing them in practical understanding of what it feels like to live with dementia every day.'

The training room contained flashing lights, low background lighting, a blaring TV, and a switched-on vacuum cleaner.

Participants were then told to perform basic tasks such as putting on a shirt and doing it up, pairing socks, completing a puzzle, and finding a teddy bear.

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The 12-minute experience is designed to simulate the confusion, heightened sensitivity to sound, and loss of feeling in extremeties, which are some of the symptoms of the various forms of dementia.

The programme is being rolled out across East Anglia-based company Caring Homes Group UK, of which Ivy Court is part.

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Ms Saunders, dementia training lead for the company, added: 'It's about finding the difficulties that most of us take for granted which dementia patients struggle with.

'For many staff it gives them a 'lightbulb moment' and I hope it increases their empathy and ability to understand why and how their mobility is affected.'

Billy McKee, one of the staff-members at Ivy Court, said: 'It was hard to do what we were asked.

'It taught me to allow the person time to use the abilities they have.'

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