For people with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases, just navigating around the house can be difficult and disorientating. But some pioneering approaches are offering new solutions

One sunflower painting looks like another here, each numberless door is identical and I am hopelessly disoriented; desperate to find an exit, a shaft of light, even. I turn right, up another featureless corridor, and then left and then right again – but is this really the way I came?

It’s a relief when a researcher removes my virtual reality headset, but it takes a few moments for my heart rate to return to baseline. I am at Bournemouth University’s department of psychology, where Jan Wiener and his team are researching the difficulties people with dementia have with wayfinding (orienting oneself in physical space). I have just briefly experienced the spatial disorientation that characterises Alzheimer’s, but for Wendy Mitchell, who lives near Hull in Yorkshire, it’s a perpetual experience. Diagnosed with the condition almost four years ago, when she was 58, she now travels around the country raising awareness of dementia. Her journeys demand precision planning. “I have a pink file that’s stuffed...

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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