VR app walks users in the shoes of people living with dementia

By Lorrin Windahl.

Virtual Reality (VR) has historically been associated with gaming and perceived as a tool for leisure. So it is great to see the technology being used to improve lives and not just embellish them. Such is the case with the recently launched app EDIE, which enables users to experience the impact of dementia from the point of view of the person living with it. It’s an important tool in increasing awareness of and empathy for people living with the heart wrenching disease.

I think most people today have been affected by dementia. I know I have. My grandfather was diagnosed with it and my grandmother is currently living with it. It is a heartbreaking and debilitating disease and I feel it is so valuable that family and friends can now gain an appreciation of the person’s diminishing world.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic launched the app, called EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience), as a way of promoting the challenges faced by people living with dementia. When in the app’s virtual world you are EDIE, a person living with dementia, who was diagnosed 2 years ago. You see and experience the world as EDIE does. It highlights the struggle associated with undertaking even the most simple everyday tasks.

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The app has been designed to be used with either Google Cardboard, a low cost VR viewer or with an EDIE branded version available from vic.fightdementia.org.au/edie (for a reasonably priced $15). The app is free for download from iTunes and Google Play.

To donate or find out more you can visit fightdementia.org.au/vic or call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

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