Lifestyle

How virtual reality is taking dementia patients back to the future

The Wayback project recreates coronation day in 1953 on 3D film using actors, period costumes and props, right down to fish-paste sandwiches. The effect is to bring back vivid memories for those struggling with the present

In a comfortable armchair, glass of sherry at her side, Elspeth Ford is getting to grips with her 3D goggles. “Maybe I’ll go another other way now,” she says, looking left, right, up, down. She breaks into a cheery rendition of the Lambeth Walk.

Elspeth, 79, is a resident at Langham Court, a dementia care home in Surrey, and today she is trialling a virtual reality project, Wayback, that has been designed especially for those living with dementia. Peering into her headset, Elspeth is temporarily transported to 2 June 1953, and a street party for the Queen’s coronation. She is enjoying a children’s fancy-dress competition. “I love that boy dressed as an Oxo cube,” she laughs.

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