Everyone enjoys a trip down memory lane, but a new film made specially for people with dementia, has taken the idea further by recreating a very special moment in recent British history and turning it into a 3D film.
The Queen’s Coronation is the first of a series of virtual reality films by The Wayback, designed to help those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The film was shot over two days in a north London street, (with satellite dishes and other modern paraphernalia digitally removed) and captures the events of June 2 1953 in colourful detail. Neighbours are shown huddled around a tiny TV set, then having a street party with games and sing a-longs. Costumes, food and even conversations were meticulously researched for accuracy – right down to the fish paste sandwiches.
The resulting film is now transporting people with dementia back in time, triggering happy memories and sparking precious conversations…but with 3D glasses to further enhance the experience.
Dan Cole, one of The Wayback’s creators, realised the power of reminiscence when his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Dan started driving his dad around the area he grew up in and found the experience sparked rich memories. ‘He kept recognising places and telling me little tales,’ Dan recalls. ‘In that fleeting moment it was so clear in his mind. I could ask questions. He could tell me things.’
Residents at Huntington House nursing and dementia care home in Surrey were amongst the first to see the film – and loved it. ‘When we shared it with the residents for the first time, you could visibly tell that they were being flooded by emotion; smiling and laughing at happy memories of familiar times,’ says managing director Charlie Hoare. ‘Dementia can leave you feeling unsure about every situation you find yourself in, but being immersed in familiar moments when the dementia didn’t exist, such as watching the Coronation on a black and white TV, seemed to instil a feeling of certainty and security.’
The Wayback hopes to create more magical films like this. The aim to make a series of Virtual Reality films from each decade, which are freely available to families living and dealing with dementia.
For more information about The Wayback and future projects please visit http://thewaybackvr.com/
Here’s how to watch the film yourself: