The Mayor and Mayoress of Elmbridge experienced a ground-breaking training programme, which challenges perceptions of dementia and which dramatically increases well-being among care home residents.
Councillor John Sheldon and Councillor Mary Sheldon, took part in Care UK‟s experiential training programme, which gives direct experience of the dramatic effects which dementia and frailty can have on the senses, when they visited Tiltwood.
Special glasses blurred their vision, headphones delivered white noise, and gloves restricted movement of hands and fingers.
Trainees also found themselves being fed food they could not see, drinking tea from plastic training beakers and being asked questions in quick succession without enough time to think of replies.
The training has given staff a clear insight into how people with dementia experience the world, and what they can do to make each resident’s life more comfortable and fulfilling.
Care UK’s Maizie Mears-Owens, who created the programme, said: “Dementia makes it hard for people to remain focused, so the questions and conversations we would view as everyday may become confusing and frustrating to them. The training allowed the Mayor and the other participants to experience that confusion and anxiety.”
The Mayor said: "However much we try to imagine the state of mind experienced by people with dementia, our full understanding seems unlikely, unless we ourselves experience this cruel affliction. I commend those who have devised this experiential training.