Awareness Day offers rare insight into dementia care

A chance to experience what it is like to suffer from dementia will be one of the insights offered at a Dementia Awareness Day held in Whangateau next month.

Bethany Hill Dementia Care rest home will host its first Dementia Awareness Day on October 11 to foster better understanding of the condition.

Bethany Hill director Dennie Chiew says those suffering dementia perceive colours, sounds and perspective differently.

“If they see a puddle of water, they might think it’s a hole,” she says.  

“And they often hear buzzing sounds in their ears. When you are talking to them, it often comes across as a big block of fuzzy voices.”

Dennie says after a day spent not being able to see, hear or think clearly, it’s easy to see why those suffering dementia can become agitated by late afternoon. Frustration builds up during the day.  

Those attending the Dementia Awareness Day will be invited to don virtual reality goggles and headphones to experience the same effect.

The hope is they will come away with a better understanding and appreciation of what dementia sufferers have to put up with.  

Dennie says those who care for dementia sufferers also need understanding

She says Bethany Hill organised the day in recognition of the fact that those in rural areas don’t have ready access to sufficient information about the condition.

“The day is about letting people know about the services that are available and the people they can talk to,” she says.

“We want to make sure nobody faces dementia alone. The worst thing is if you are caring for someone with dementia and you don’t know where to get help.”

Guest speaker for the day is Joy Owen, a gerontology nurse specialist, who will advise carers where they can find assistance. She speaks at 11am.

Dementia Awareness Day will be held at Bethany Hill Dementia Care on October 11, from 10am to 2pm. Book on 422 6006 or email