Virtual Reality (VR) training for informal caregivers of dementia patients

3-Day VR training

With the aim of making caregivers more confident about their own abilities, a VR training for informal caregivers who take care of dementia patients was developed and presented to the SupportCare consortium by the Belgian partner VIVES in a meeting in Roeselare, Belgium on 10-12 October 2023.

The three-day training aims to teach the trainers how to use the equipment, to experience the training themselves and to plan their national pilot courses with the carers. The training aims to reduce the caregiver’s anxiety and stress, while it helps to create better social relations with the care receiver. It is based on virtual learning (an e-learning and a VR video), simulation techniques, and immersive experience combined with an interactive reflection. In these trainings, in which caregivers can experience the limitations and behavioural changes linked to dementia themselves via Virtual Reality (VR) technology, the aim is not only to transfer knowledge but also to enable caregivers to develop a greater understanding of the behaviour and limitations of their loved ones. This will have a positive effect on the informal carer, who will become more empowered and self-assured due to the knowledge gained, but will also cope better with the patients they care for, as they will have adjusted their expectations of their loved ones’ capacities. Moreover, better comprehension of the behaviour of a person with dementia leads to more empathy for their situation, which can reduce feelings of stress among family carers, while it may even delay the decline in cognitive functioning of the person with dementia.

Feedback from the participants:

  • “We met as a group and we worked great together! We learnt how to use the equipment and how to implement the training while respecting the beneficiaries.”
  • “The course was excellently organised, presenting new tools (VR) in a clear and comprehensive manner.”
  • “Very interactive and something new for me, also the topic is very relevant.”
  • “Working in a relatively small group increased the scope for individual support, raising questions etc. It also helped to build a strong connection among all participants, which created a trustful environment. This was crucial, especially to simulate a realistic reflection scenario.”

Project Description and Website

A project website was developed and is available in every partner language, with information about the project, updates about the next steps, and access to the project’s deliverables.

SupportCare is an EU-funded project that aims to empower and support informal caregivers for people with dementia, offer tools and knowledge to prevent negative impacts on informal caregivers’ health and well-being, and break the stigma around dementia.

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