Background: Most persons with dementia in the Netherlands live at home, where they are cared for by informal carers such as family members or friends, who offer this care unpaid. Their care-task poses a high burden on these informal carers, increasing the risk of health problems and social isolation. Many informal carers indicate they want more information on the behaviour of those they care for.
Aim: To develop and evaluate Into D’mentia, a simulation set in a living kitchen in which visitors experience a day in the life of someone with dementia. During this ‘day’, modern techniques such as sensors and projections, simulate the limitations of having dementia. This intervention is evaluated on usefulness and user friendliness, and on its effect on empathy, attitudes towards dementia, coping, carer burden, person-centered care capabilities and care satisfaction.
Research: Nine informal carers and 23 care professionals took part in the research into the Into D’mentia simulation. Before and after their visit, they filled in several questionnaires, with, among others, their opinion on the usefulness and user friendliness of this experience.
Results: Participants found Into D’mentia a highly useful and user friendly development. They indicated that the simulation offered good insight in the life of someone with dementia, and that they could offer better care thanks to this experience. Participants also indicated that they often thought back on their experiences in the simulation, in order to better understand the behaviour of people with dementia.
Conclusion: Into D’mentia offers a unique, accessible way to experience the limitations dementia has on daily life. Users indicate that it is a useful and user friendly innovation. Into D’mentia appears to be a suitable method to support informal and professional caregivers.