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Ipswich: UCS students get to experience the ageing process first hand

PUBLISHED: 14:00 20 February 2013

Susan Coldwell, CPD Dementia Care Module student from Ipswich Hospital, tests playing a simple board game using the suit to simulate environmental adaptations.

Susan Coldwell, CPD Dementia Care Module student from Ipswich Hospital, tests playing a simple board game using the suit to simulate environmental adaptations.

STUDENTS studying at UCS have experienced first hand what the future holds, taking part in experiments looking at the ageing process and dementia.

An £11,000 donation from the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance (NSDA) to the university enabled the purchase of specialist equipment capable of simulating a person’s experience of ageing and dementia.

The funding has prompted a series of important research projects, carried out by UCS’s School of Science, Technology and Health.

Sarah Housden, lecturer in Long Term Conditions, Division of Health arranged a session in which 14 students aged 25 to 55 took part in a three-hour experiment using environmental adaptations and equipment in the form of a suit, pictured.

Students experienced impaired hearing and vision as well as a reduction in the sensitivity of mobility in their hands, while taking part in everyday activities including eating, playing cards or doing puzzles.

A UCS Spokesman said the experiment had a “strong effect on the students” with many saying their perceptions of what it was like to be older had “completely changed”.

He said students were more aware of how disorientating sensory and physical impairments can be and vowed to be more patient and caring towards the elderly.

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