Virtual experience helps SSEN understand dementia

Employees from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) recently took part in the Virtual Dementia Tour to better understand the difficulties faced by those living with dementia.

The virtual tour, delivered in the UK by training partner Training 2 CARE, is medically and scientifically proven to be the closest a person with a healthy brain can come to experience what living with dementia might be like. By understanding dementia from the person’s point of view, organisations can change practice, reduce issues and help improve their customers’ lives.

With more than 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK, and over 10,000 of those registered on SSEN’s Priority Services Register, SSEN’s frontline employees play a vital role in understanding its customers’ needs, communicating effectively and delivering positive outcomes for those most vulnerable in the communities the network operator serves.

Julie Walker, Social Obligations Manager at SSEN, said:

“At SSEN we already have an embedded culture of doing the right thing for our customers, especially those who may need extra help in the event of a power cut and we want to ensure our services are easily accessible now and in the future.

“We have already introduced new ways to communicate with our customers with the use of Easy Read and Recite Me, however we recognise that with so many people in the UK living with dementia, we need to consider and understand the multidimensional needs of all of our customers.

“Our contact centre and regional teams are already trained in identifying and responding to customers in vulnerable circumstances, however the Virtual Dementia Tour has equipped our teams with vital information, allowed them the opportunity to walk in the shoes of the person with the disease, and enhanced their understanding of how we can better communicate and contribute to making their lives easier.”

Glenn Knight, Managing Director of Training 2 CARE, added:

“The need to have a better understanding of the physical effects of dementia is so important for anyone that comes into direct or indirect contact with people who have dementia.  The amazing compassion shown by all at SSEN has been refreshing and all participants really committed to better understanding people that are potentially vulnerable and require greater support.  Giving these the ability to walk in the shoes of people with dementia has been an inspirational experience for me personally”.

By replicating the mid-stages of dementia, the tour aims to help attendees:

  • Understand the physical and sensory changes a person living with dementia may experience
  • Understand how the environment can help or hinder individuals
  • Identify ways to improve communication
  • Understand how people may feel in an unfamiliar environment or situation
  • Identify ways to communicate with and support people living with dementia
  • Understand how to challenge the stereotyping and labelling of people living with dementia


For more information on the Virtual Dementia Tour, visit https://www.training2care.co.uk/virtual-dementia-tour.htm.

For more information on SSEN’s Priority Services Register, to register yourself or someone you know who could benefit from free extra support during a power cut, visit https://www.ssen.co.uk/PriorityServices/

 Virtual Experience Helps SSEN Understand Dementia 2

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Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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