Imagine you are standing in a dimly lit living room, which could be your own, but which also may not be home at all.  

You don’t know because you can’t remember.

Who lit the glowing fire in the fireplace? What are you there to do? Where is everyone? And do you even belong here? 

That’s where a player begins in Forget-Me-Knot, a new video game designed to increase dementia awareness by immersing players in an unfamiliar environment intended to simulate the Alzheimer’s experience. The graphic layout will be familiar to anyone who has played a mystery or horror-themed game where the player explores a home for clues, objects, or people through a first-person, optical POV.
By searching through the room’s interior, a player can discover various clues, which allow them to piece together an understanding of their environment, their past, and ultimately their identity.
Created by Alexander Tarvet, a student studying Game Design at Abertay University in Scotland, Forget-Me-Knot can be a unique experience for healthy individuals interested in developing a greater understanding and empathy for those living with Alzheimer’s/dementia. As Tarvet explains in the engadget article, "Through playing Forget-Me-Knot the player gets an immediate sense of the confusion the character feels. The player is in exactly the same position as the person with Alzheimer's--both have to explore the room and try and piece together an understanding of photos and letters through clues left on shelves and in drawers."

The game could be especially useful for facilities that wish to give staff a more immediate and visceral understanding of the confusion and disorientation often present in the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s/dementia. The “I’ve walked in your shoes” kind of understanding the game hopes to inspire could be a big win for facilities looking to inspire staff to adopt a more patient, compassionate approach.
What is your facility doing to make staff more empathetic to residents with Alzheimer’s/dementia?