(20 - 26 May) is Dementia Action Week which aims to raise awareness of the condition that affects 850,000 people in the UK alone. To mark the week, the Calabash Day Centre, which provides tailor-made support for older people in Lewisham, piloted an innovative and unique virtual reality app designed specifically for dementia sufferers.

VR Revival is a 360 app created by Mansata Kurang, and is aimed specifically at people living with dementia from diasporic communities.

The app features videos and images of peaceful and calm scenes that are reminiscent of childhood scenes for people who grew up in Africa, for example. Evoking memories of childhood, the app can provide a therapeutic experience that alleviates depression or anxiety which are sadly often experienced by dementia sufferers.

The creator of the app, Mansata Kurang, said:

“My mission is to get more people aware of dementia and improve responses to caring for people with dementia, both overseas and here in the UK. Imagine your relative, who is living with dementia, is Ghanaian so her childhood memories are from Ghana. Through this experience we can bring her calming, beautiful images and music that help her access memories. The aim is to bring joy back into their worlds.”

Members of the Calabash Day Centre enjoyed trying on the headsets and immersing themselves in familiar scenes that evoked positive memories. After experiencing the app, Mrs Gentle said,

“That was wonderful. It reminded me of back home, my country, really beautiful. I wish I could go back home.”

Natalie Purton Jones, Team Manager at the Calabash Day Centre, said,

“we feel so lucky that Mansata selected our service to trial her VR Revival app, it has given some of our clients a wonderful experience today and evoked powerful emotions. We wish her luck in finding funding and further developing her project so more individuals living with dementia can benefit from using the app.”

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