Whittington House Dementia Event – ‘Experience My World’

Whittington House Nursing Home in Cheltenham gave members of the public and local community an insight into how frustrating and scary living with dementia can be. Whittington House’s Dementia Experience, held at the care home was attended by relatives of residents, local residents, local ministers and a representative from Community Connexions.

Participants donned gloves, dark glasses and ear plugs, and put hard plastic pieces in their shoes before entering a room staged to further impair their senses with flashing lights, low background lighting and blaring music.

All attendees were involved in a practical activity and were asked to complete a series of tasks including putting on a shirt and doing up the buttons, pairing socks, completing a puzzle and unwrapping a chocolate. The immersion scenario was designed to simulate the confusion, heightened sensitivity to sound and loss of feeling in hands that are just some of the symptoms of varying forms of dementia – frequently leading to frustration and a feeling of helplessness.

Whittington House, which is part of Caring Homes Group, is a modern, purpose-built home and provides residential, nursing and specialist dementia care for up to 66 people. The educational session was led by Caring Homes’ Dementia Training Lead, Michele Saunders and Whittington’s Home Manager, Lyndsey Dixon and also included an introductory overview of dementia and how it can affect people.

Michele Saunders explains:
“Through practical learning, participants ‘walk in a person’s shoes’ with the aim of gaining a greater understanding of, and empathy for, the psychological needs of a person with dementia.”

The event was based on Caring Home’s unique ‘My World’ dementia training programme. ‘My World’ has been accredited by City & Guilds and has received a Princess Royal Training Award. The entire team at Whittington House, from care, reception, chefs to housekeeping receives the ‘Living in My World’ training, giving them an understanding of the condition and how to make a positive impact on the people in our care.

At Whittington House we believe everyone should have an awareness of dementia to recognise what life is like for those living with the condition and understand how loved ones can be affected and supported.

Did you know?
There are more than 200 different forms of dementia

There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK

A further 225,000 will develop the condition this year

Lyndsey Dixon, Home Manager at Whittington House, said:
“I am very pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to relatives and people who have a connection with dementia. It provides a greater awareness of what people living with the condition may be experiencing. It was also an ideal opportunity to share the ‘My World’ training we are all receiving to ensure that our residents are being given the best possible care that meets their holistic needs.
“This event was such a success that we are hoping to run another session in the near future for both family members and people from our local community.”

Participants were humbled by the experience, saying that it gave them significantly more empathy with people living with dementia.

Mary Powell, who lives locally said:
‘I have been to several lectures about dementia and this has been the most helpful by far’.

Helen Pemberton from Community Connexions said:
“I found it very informative and has made me more aware of the impact that dementia has on both the person and the family and friends. It will help me to take into account the effects and so enable me to change the way I communicate with those affected.
“The ‘experiencing my world’ was certainly eye opening in the way that it changed my perception of how debilitating and frustrating the disability can be not only to those that are affected directly but indirectly as well as family members also face the daily struggle.
“Hopefully other employees will be able to attend similar future events as I feel it is important for everyone to have an understanding, both for their professional and personal lives.”

Anne Foster, who took part in the event said: “It was really good. The presentation was easy to understand and there was lots of information. The activities were really good and an eye opener. It also helped me to understand my son’s problem with his eyes. Thank you very much for inviting me.”

Reverend John Martin, Grace Church Cheltenham, commented:
“Thank you for Wednesday. It was well organised, informative and engaging. Michele was very good… The Experience My World was great.”

Further comments made were:
“I was really grateful initially to have been included in the invitation to this event. Then I was doubly blessed by the hospitality of your warm welcome and splendid lunch. The session was excellent. Michele is a most engaging speaker and her material clearly and expertly presented. I found it both stimulating and immensely informative. The simulation experience was innovative and mind-changing. I have never been to anything like that before and it really came across and made so many points about this disability which I was previously unaware of. I can’t praise the whole event highly enough.”

If you would like to find out more about life and our events at Whittington House Nursing Home, please contact us on whittington@caringhomes.org or telephone 0808 223 5396.

Whittington House

Home Manager

Lyndsey Dixon


58 Whittington Road,
GL51 6BL

0808 223 5396
View care home

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