Dementia affects roughly 400,000 Australians.
Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and memory. It is an debilitating disease that often targets our older and beloved family and friends - those over the age of 65 years. Dementia is made up of a number of different symptoms and presents in different types; such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. Treatment for dementia can help, but sadly it cannot be cured.
As our Australian population ages and people are living in their own homes and communities for longer, care for those people living with dementia can’t always be provided by professionally trained caregivers and instead often falls to family and friends.
The effects of dementia on people who live with it can vary; dark floor mats may appear as holes, a “busy” pattern may appear to be moving or looking like a swarm of insects, repeating patterns may cause the illusion of steps or height. Typically dementia is regarded as affecting memory, and not these other spatial and visual challenges that make common tasks so difficult.
There is often a disconnect between the perceived experience for those living with dementia and the type and level of care required. Caregivers aim to provide the best care and support they can, often for family members and loved ones. But sadly, without truly understanding the experience of a person living with dementia, care provided may be limited.
"Changes in the brain can impact on day to day functions and potentially confuse people living with dementia. Identifying ways the home and environment can be modified to ameliorate any challenges will make a difference to the person living with dementia."
Maree McCabe – CEO, Dementia Australia
The Virtual Dementia Experience (VDE) is an immersive, emotive and interactive experience that aims to capture and simulate the experience of living with dementia. VDE aims to make participants think, feel and see through the use of sight, sound and movement in an experience that combines motion capture technology and aspects of virtual reality. VDE places participants in the shoes of a person living with dementia and guides them through the types of visual and spatial challenges faced on a daily basis.
Building upon the rewarded experience, DSTIL worked with our innovation partner Dementia Australia to improve the experience by incorporating the state of the arts motion capture technology to enhance the interactive elements of the scenario. Alongside this, DSTIL implemented substantial graphical, performative, and usability optimisations to the VDE scenarios.