Thursday, 16 August 2018

Dementia Australia rolling out virtual reality workshops nationwide

Dementia Australia rolling out virtual reality workshops nationwide
09 Jun

Dementia Australia is rolling out its hugely successful virtual reality based training workshops nationwide.

The EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience) VR tool has been used as part of workshops run by the charity in Victoria for the past two years. The workshops were held for the first time in New South Wales late last year and in recent weeks have been made available in Queensland and South Australia.

The ‘Enabling EDIE’ workshops use a virtual reality app developed by researchers at Deakin University run on Samsung Gear VR headsets to deliver a training program that helps participants better understand the lived experience of dementia sufferers.

The experience puts participants in the shoes of Edie – a 65-year-old man with dementia who wakes up in the middle of the night in bed with his wife, needing to go to the bathroom.

“You experience what Edie is experiencing by seeing what he’s seeing. There are a number of symptoms of dementia – around visual perception, hearing and understanding and memory. For example: ‘Where is the bathroom? Which door in a long corridor is the bathroom door?’ And for visual perception issues – if you have contrasting colours on the ground, that can appear to be a step down or a hole for a person with dementia,” explains Dr Tanya Petrovich, Dementia Australia’s business development manager.

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