Awareness of the struggles of living with dementia was raised through virtual reality.

Axminster Guildhall hosted a virtual dementia experience bus last week, revealing what it’s really like to live with the condition.

The idea came from two women hoping to make Axminster a dementia-friendly town.

Shiobhan Pickering, community dementia matron, and Samantha Over, who has a background of working in dementia at Axminster Hospital, organise the town’s memory cafés.

Samantha said: “We both have worked in the NHS for many years, mainly with people living with dementia, and have family and friends with dementia also. We have heard so many times that once the person gets a diagnosis they begin to be excluded from the things they use to do, like hobbies, day-to-day errands and social lives. We know if we get it right for people living with dementia then we get it right for each and everyone of us too. So it’s a win win situation.”

The pair are dedicated to helping support people with memory problems and their families and carers.

They host a memory café on the second Monday of each month at the Pippins Community Centre on Lyme Road, Axminster. The sessions are held between 2pm and 4pm.

Samantha said: “This disease doesn’t just affect the person but their loved ones too. They feel more and more isolated. Daily life becomes more difficult by the fact we live in such a busy world and people rushing about. We have witnessed people being tutted at in shops or cafés for being slower or struggling with change; the changes that happen so fast in our streets and shops.

“Promoting independence and reducing isolation is key to the person with dementia and their families remaining a key part of our community. Feeling useful and valued is all anyone wants.

“We want Axminster to join the inclusive generation and be dementia friendly by making some easy quick changes to begin with.”