In a bid to highlight the varied effects of dementia, a special experience bus is touring the region.

Leader reporter Liam Gotting found out first hand just how disorientating life can get...

THIS week people in Wrexham can get the opportunity to experience what it might be like to live with dementia.

The Dementia Bus Tour, sitting in the Morrisons store car park, creates a circumstance in which the participant’s senses and motor skills are disorientated, making even the simplest of tasks feel impossible.

I went to take part in a session and experience it first hand.


The bus is operated by Training2Care, who say its main goal is to make the public more aware that the condition doesn’t just affect memory, but can seriously alter the way the body functions, and aims to make participants walk away from the experience with a deeper understanding of the struggles of those with dementia.

Jerry Rickett, a trainer with the Dementia Bus, explains just how surreal the experience can be for some, and shares a few of the most extreme instances of how people have reacted.

He said: “There’s an activity where I ask people to attempt to find socks on the bed, which some ladies have mistaken for the shotgun.


“The other day I got punched in the face! I tapped a woman on the shoulder to give her some information and she got very startled and punched me, but she was very sympathetic afterwards.

“When we do this, each and every person will have a totally different experience to everybody else, they’ll do something different. I had this one session where this lady threw the equipment off, ran straight out the vehicle, and I didn’t see her again.

“Another day I had this guy in here with me, I was trying to give him instructions and information, and I could not move him a muscle. I couldn’t move him an inch for the entire session.”

I’m not sure whether to say I was fortunate or unfortunate to take part in the session, but I can say that I’m glad that I experienced it myself because it was a real eye-opener.


As someone who has never known anyone suffering from the illness, I must admit that it’s not something I’ve ever particularly thought about, the struggle that they go through, not just mentally, but physically.

I placed these prickly slabs in my shoes which gave me a pins and needles sensation, I was given a pair of headphones and glasses to put on as I walked into a room in the back of the bus, lit by a miniature disco ball.

I spent a few minutes walking around this room, the glasses distorting my vision, and the sounds from the headphones seemingly disorientating my motor skills, and before I knew it I found it difficult just to move around.

Jerry then gave me a few simple tasks to complete, simple, everyday activities that all of a sudden seemed impossible to me.


I wasn’t able to button up a shirt he handed me, or pick up a pen and coherently write my own name.

I was barely able to comprehend the instructions I was given.

Jerry explained to me afterwards that he hopes the people who do come and give the sessions a go will leave, understanding there is so much more to dementia than memory loss.

“At Training2Care, we want people to understand that dementia isn’t just at a certain age you forget things. There is so much more to it than that.

“This experience allows our healthy brains to understand that if these conditions do come into our life, we can then reason and ration what it is.


“Not only that but it makes us more aware of what these people are experiencing every day, and it can help us better understand how to help these people, how to care for them.

Two professional carers, who look after people living with dementia on a daily basis, took part in the experience with me, and they were just as shocked as me.

Amy Lewis, who works at Hollybank Residential Care Home in Shotton, said she believes the session will change the way she looks after her residents suffering with the illness.

She said: “I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I came in, but it was nothing like what actually happened. Just walking in I was confused and worried.

“I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t see, I didn’t know what was happening. It was scary, I can’t even begin to think what it must be like to live with that every day.

“It’s changed my perspective and my understanding. How scary it must be, it will definitely help when it comes to caring for these people.”

The Dementia Bus continues its tour across Wrexham next week, then stopping off at Chirk Community Hospital on Monday 21, and Tuesday 22, returning to Wrexham on February, 11, at Asda.