Virtual Dementia Experience wins international award – education and technology winner

Monday 1 December 2014

In Jakarta, last night, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s Virtual Dementia Experience, based at the Perc Walkley Dementia Learning Centre, Parkville, was awarded the international 2014 Asia Pacific Information Communications and Technology Alliance (APICTA) Award for Education E-Learning.

The world’s first use of serious games technology aiming to transform dementia care education, to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia, received the award at the ceremony to honour organisations and individuals in the Asia Pacific which are at the cutting edge of technology innovation.

After winning the Australian ICT Innovation iAward for Education E-Learning in August this year, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic went on to represent Australia at the Indonesian awards ceremony against finalists from Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macao, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand.

The Virtual Dementia Experience was assessed by judges from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Pakistan and Vietnam.

The APICTA recognises the achievements of ICT professionals across the Asia Pacific region.

 “As the peak body in Victoria we are very honoured to have received the international APICTA Education E-Learning Category that demonstrates our commitment to improving healthcare outcomes for our community,” Maree McCabe, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia Vic said.

The Virtual Dementia Experience takes the participant through a multi-sensory simulation using light, sound, colour and visual content while incorporating ‘serious games’ technology to create a virtual reality experience - Aged and healthcare workers are taken in to the world of dementia.

The experience includes doughnut shaped mood lighting, a massive ten metre by two metre wall that can have a seamless image projected across its width and breadth, an interactive touch screen and gesture- sensor technology.

"The intention is to simulate the experience of what it is like to have dementia. This leads to a change in attitude, which changes behaviour and practice resulting in better care for people living with dementia,” Ms McCabe said.

“Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is dedicated to bringing plans, innovations and best practices into reality and the example of our Victorian team’s Virtual Dementia Experience has succeeded in putting dementia care education at the forefront of Victorian healthcare.

“I wish to acknowledge the extraordinary work of the Alzheimer’s Australia Vic team, Dr Tanya Petrovich, Manager Business Development and the game developer team from Melbourne’s Opaque Multimedia, James Bonner, Liam McGuire and Norman Wang.

Since the Virtual Dementia Experience was launched at the opening of the Perc Walkley Dementia Learning Centre in October 2013 more than 1,000 people have been exposed to the intensely moving experience.

In March 2014, the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs acknowledged the ground breaking work of the Virtual Dementia Experience and recommended that all states develop installations similar to that at the Perc Walkley Dementia Learning Centre, Parkville.*

“I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to take part in the virtual experience. I had an eight hour shift in the facility the next day and I was able to use the experience several times, in different ways, throughout the day. It was such an incredible feeling, “one course participant said.

International attention has seen Alzheimer’s Australia Vic and Opaque Multimedia invited to multiple conferences to share about and demonstrate the Virtual Dementia Experience to ageing, dementia and game developer experts, including:

  • WHO Global Forum on Innovations for Ageing Populations, Japan 2013

  • Institute for the Future Health Horizons Conference, San Francisco 2014

  • Game Developers Conference, San Francisco 2014

  • International Federation of Ageing Conference, Hyderabad 2014

  • LASA Tri-State Conference, Albury 2014

The Virtual Dementia Experience was also a 2014 finalist in the Australian Microsoft Imagine Cup and the 2014 Melbourne Awards.



In Victoria almost 78,000 people are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is the charity representing people with all forms of dementia in Victoria. As the peak body, we provide specialised dementia information, education and support services.

Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit

Media contact: Christine Bolt 9816 5772 / 0400 004 553 /


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