We’ve become aware of an exciting new project to create a series of freely available, virtual reality 360 degree films that faithfully recreate popular, positive moments from our collective past called THE WAYBACK.

The independent project, which will be freely available on YouTube, is being driven forward by a group of friends after seeing their own loved ones affected by dementia.

The first film will take the viewer back to a familiar moment in time and immerse them fully in the historic scene with the aim to help trigger happy memories and most importantly, open up new conversations and connections with loved ones and carers.

Dan Cole, Co-Founder of THE WAYBACK has had his own experience with dementia which affected his father. He tells us, ‘Dementia robs people of the ability to remember and communicate, conversations with your loved one sadly become more and more difficult. We believe that THE WAYBACK can help start new conversations by transporting a person back to another era for a few moments, triggering their own memories of that time to share.’

Now Dan and a growing team of experts from the film and advertising industries are looking to raise £35k to make a pilot episode. This opening episode will transport viewers back to a moment firmly planted in the UK’s national conscience; the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. An iconic event which evokes fond memories for those alive at that time. THE WAYBACK will recreate a Coronation street party in exact detail; from the location to the costumes, props and atmosphere. The viewer will be able to fully explore the scene, overhearing conversations and music from the time — making the Virtual Reality (VR) experience as enjoyable and realistic as possible.

You can find out more on the project here

Many care professionals believe that triggering happy memories from the past can improve wellbeing and bring comfort to those living with the dementia. For some, reconnecting with these memories can help reinforce a sense of identity and a feeling of self-worth. Progressive care homes currently use props from the past to help try and trigger memories which stimulate conversations therefore creating an atmosphere of positive connections. THE WAYBACK project sees VR as an affordable way to use the technology nearly everyone has in their pocket (smartphone) to make the leap from props to a trip back in time.

Dr David Sheard, founder of Dementia Care Matters and consultant on Channel 4’s award-winning series ‘Dementiaville’, has helped the project to ask the right questions along the way and introduced the project to the residents and staff at Huntington House, a progressive care home for those living with dementia.

“Recalling the past is one of the ways we can create new positive moments for people living with dementia. THE WAYBACK PROJECT is special because it will help connect people to the past — using the wonders of new technology today. Anything in dementia care that offers the opportunity to connect and be reached is strongly welcomed.” Dr David Sheard.

Executive Producer of THE WAYBACK team Emma Fasson said, ‘It’s incredible the people and companies that are donating their time & expertise to make this happen — but it shows the passion & genuine belief that this idea can make a difference for those living with Alzheimer’s.’