CARING: Ozcare's Kirsty MacKay, Fair Haven Aged Care Service Emily Toy and Amanda Clarkson, and Churches of Christ VDT spokeswoman Johanna Schaefer were at the forum.
CARING: Ozcare's Kirsty MacKay, Fair Haven Aged Care Service Emily Toy and Amanda Clarkson, and Churches of Christ VDT spokeswoman Johanna Schaefer were at the forum. Glen Porteous

Virtual Dementia Technology helps to prepare carers

NEW technology is giving everyday people insight into the devastating impact of dementia.

Churches of Christ in Queensland is currently completing a Virtual Dementia Tour to help give carers and family members a window into the world of dementia sufferers.

Using virtual reality equipment, the tour gives a person with a healthy brain an experience of what dementia might be like.

Spokeswoman for the tour, Johanna Schaefer said it was a scientifically-proven method.

"Wearing these goggles and equipment gives the person an idea of what it's like to have dementia by impacting their senses,” Ms Schaefer said.

"Anyone who has contact with someone that has dementia can try it and see first hand what its like for their mum or someone they know could be going through.

"The tour has a very clinical model and takes the individual through the whole process by monitoring their behaviour, documenting it and a post-tour evaluation.”

According to Dementia Australia, which last year completed Dementia Prevalence Estimates for the Federal Electorate of Wide Bay, the rates of the illness in the region are set to more than double by 2058, from 3679 to 7645 cases.

Within a decade, it estimates 5161 people will be living with dementia in the region.

Ozcare's dementia advisor Kirsty Mackay said families could be just as struck by dementia as the person with the illness.

She said families and carers sometimes put up a screen between themselves and their loved one.

"This (forum) gives families, friends and businesses a way to close the gap of understanding.”