What is it like to have dementia?

19 June 2019
By Bryan Smyth

Family and carers get glimpse of ‘life with dementia’ in Cork

Right at Home brings Virtual Dementia Tour to Cork to build understanding and empathy around dementia

Right at Home, one of Ireland’s leading homecare providers, brought the Virtual Dementia Tour to Cork on Wednesday, 12th June 2019, as part of Carers Week 2019. Right at Home staff, professional and family carers, and the general public from across Cork and beyond queued to attend the event.

The Virtual Dementia Tour is the only scientifically-proven method of giving people an experience of what dementia might be like, with visitors having their vision, touch and sound distorted in a similar way to someone with dementia.

The Virtual Dementia Tour event was hosted by Right at Home at Douglas Court Shopping Centre. The tour will now travel to Right at Home in Galway for its final stop tomorrow. Its aim is to build understanding, compassion and greater levels of care for people experiencing dementia.

Across Ireland, there are approximately 55,000 people living with dementia, and this figure is expected to double by 2036. There are almost 6,000 people experiencing dementia in Cork alone.

Pictured at Douglas Court Shopping Centre, the fourth stop of the Virtual Dementia Tour being hosted by Right at Home Ireland, one of Ireland’s home-care providers, were Maria Hallahan Supervisor and Vanessa Ahern Carer. 
Photography by Gerard McCarthy

Speaking at the tour stop in Douglas Court, Cian O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Right at Home Cork, said: “The turnout today demonstrates the desire among family carers, the public, our clients’ families and our staff to gain a greater understanding of dementia and its effect on those diagnosed with the disease. We were delighted to welcome all the attendees to this experience. The tour began in Blanchardstown, Dublin on Monday and has toured Kildare, Cork and Galway throughout the week.

“At Right at Home, we recognise the ever-evolving role of our carers and the specific skillsets required for caring for clients with dementia. As an organisation, we’re constantly seeking out and providing the best training methods and we feel the immersive nature of the Virtual Dementia Tour will further bolster our staff’s understanding of the challenges faced by people suffering the condition.”

Right at Home Cork carer Vanessa Ahern spoke of her experience participating in the tour.

“When I arrived, I wasn’t sure of what to expect of the tour but, I’m glad I did it. It was physically uncomfortable, distracting, frustrating and confusing, and at times frightening too.”

“It was so realistic that I felt quite emotional knowing that this is what people with this disease endure on a daily basis. It gave me a deeper understanding of how we need to care for people with dementia.

“In my role, I need to see everything from my client’s perspective and this experience has definitely done that. This experience will stay with me forever.”

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