Pioneering ‘dementia bus’ set for Wirral stop on awareness-raising tour

A simulated dementia experience, helping people to understand what it is like to have the condition, is coming to Wirral.

Members of the public are invited to board a ‘dementia bus’ at Gordale Garden Centre on Saturday, 22 June.

Apollo Care, a local home care service provider, have sponsored the mobile simulator as part of their mission to raise awareness of dementia, which experts predict will affect more than one million Brits by 2025.

“The simulator is a scientifically and medically proven method of giving a person with a healthy brain an experience of what dementia might be like,” said Suzanne Janvier, Managing Director of Apollo Care (South Wirral).

“While the bus will be primarily used as a training tool for our staff, we also wanted to open this experience up to the public, so that they too can develop a better understanding of how dementia affects the senses, as well as a person’s ability to think and communicate.

‘By sponsoring community-based educational experiences such as this, Apollo Care hopes that those with memory loss – and their families – will feel truly seen and supported.”

The simulator, known as the Virtual Dementia Tour, was invented in the United States by Professor PK Beville. Owned by Second Wind Dreams, its use was pioneered in the UK by partners Training 2 CARE.

Using sensory tools and information, the simulator recreates feelings such as confusion, isolation, agitation and vulnerability – allowing users to experience for a few minutes what people with dementia experience every day.

“Learning to create a positive environment for those with dementia can only come from attempting to walk in their shoes,” said Glenn Knight, CEO of Training 2 CARE.

“Whether you are a family member or care provider, having a new perspective on dementia can really make the difference and create an empathetic pathway. We are delighted to partner with Apollo Care to bring this unique, hard-hitting experience to Wirral.”

Dementia Together Wirral, a charity which provides a social community for anyone affected by memory issues with or without a diagnosis, will attend the event – co-hosted by Suzanne Janvier and Hannah White, Managing Director of Apollo Care (West Wirral).

Pictured left to right – Hannah White, Cheryl White and Suzanne Janvier

The company’s founder and CEO, Cheryl White, said: “Approximately 60% of the clients we provide companionship, personal care and home-based support to in Wirral have dementia. As a former nurse, I am determined that they receive the kind of compassionate, person-centred care any of us would want for our vulnerable loved ones, so I am more than happy for Apollo to invest in world-class training for our teams.”

The ‘dementia bus’ will be open on Saturday, 22 June from 10.30am to 4pm in the grounds of Gordale Garden Centre, Neston.

Jill Nicholson, Company Secretary at Gordale Garden Centre, added: “Many people know somebody with dementia. If you are a new or returning visitor to Gordale, we encourage you to engage with the team on the bus, as well as to explore the simple changes we can all make to improve the lives of people with dementia.”

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