Anglican Care staff take Educational Dementia Immersive Experience (EDIE) workshop to better understand condition

VIRTUAL WORLD: Anglican Care's Kylie Jacques dons an Educational Dementia Immersive Experience (EDIE) headset as Janet Sykes looks on at the workshop in Booragul on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart
VIRTUAL WORLD: Anglican Care's Kylie Jacques dons an Educational Dementia Immersive Experience (EDIE) headset as Janet Sykes looks on at the workshop in Booragul on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart

Staff at Anglican Care have used virtual reality technology to better understand dementia.

The Educational Dementia Immersive Experience (EDIE), uses an innovative app and gaming technology to take users into the world of a man living with dementia.

A workshop involving the technology was presented at Booragul on Thursday by Christine Dunbar, a facilitator with the Centre for Dementia, part of Dementia Australia.

Ms Dunbar has hosted several such seminars and said the workshop often evoked an emotional response from participants.

"A lot of people leave the workshop with a deeper empathy," she said.

"You'll often hear them say 'So that's why the resident does that'."

Ms Dunbar said there were about 150 causes of dementia.

And the condition does not only manifest in memory loss.

Dementia could impact each of a person's five senses, she said.

Dementia could affect an individual’s mood, problem-solving skills, language and their ability to do their daily tasks, and using EDIE provided an opportunity to explain its effect on perception.

Speaking to the Lakes Mail before the workshop, Anglican Care's senior nurse educator Janet Sykes said there was a clear goal.

Kylie Jacques and Janet Sykes before the EDIE workshop at the Anglican Care head office in Booragul on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart

Kylie Jacques and Janet Sykes before the EDIE workshop at the Anglican Care head office in Booragul on Thursday. Picture: David Stewart

"The hope is that our staff will get a greater understanding of, and empathy for, the people we look after, and to see things the way that they do," she said.

Ms Sykes said dementia was the brain beginning to fail.

"It's not just about memory loss, it's relationships that can be lost, and abilities that can be lost," she said.

"And there is no cure. It will end in death."

Anglican Care marketing manager Kylie Jacques said staff were excited about the workshop.

"To be able to gain a personal understanding for what residents are faced with daily and how these struggles can impair their emotions will be incredibly insightful for our staff as they care for residents suffering from dementia."

Dementia Australia said dementia was the second leading cause of death of Australians contributing to 5.4 per cent of all deaths in males and 10.6 per cent of all deaths in females each year.

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