Even though dementia affects millions of Americans — 5 million alone are living with Alzheimer's disease at this very moment — it's not something we can fully understand without experiencing it for ourselves. We can't fathom the pain of not being able to recognize a face we've known our whole lives or forgetting our most cherished memories, not to mention the confusion, fear, and hallucinations.
Until now, that is.
Di Peng, who graduated with a masters in industrial design from Central Saint Martins in London, is the creator of a sense-distorting helmet that can be used as an empathy tool. The headset, which uses a mouth piece, earpiece, and screen to replicate everything from blurry faces to speech impairment, allows caregivers to better understand what their loved ones are going through. If only everyone could just take off a simulation headset at the end of the day.
Even though this is a useful tool that will help people get a better idea of what family members are going through, Peng hopes the helmet will help bring awareness to additional problems that affect those with dementia.
"In order to weaken the stereotypes and misconceptions toward dementia patients, I believe we could use simulation and pretense as a method to further understand their inner world," he told Dezeen magazine.
The video above will surely open your eyes, mind, and heart.