TV newsreader gets a taste of ageing at USW

Lucy Owen. Trying out ageing suit at Glyntaff Clinical Simulation Suite. Neil Gibson


This is the moment that newsreader Lucy Owen gets a taste of what life could be like when she gets older.

The BBC Wales journalist was given an idea of what the future could hold on a visit to the University of South Wales (USW), where she tried out an ageing simulation suit while filming Lucy Owen: Middle Aged Me – which is due to be shown on BBC Wales.

The age simulation suit gives the wearer a first-hand experience of the potential effects of ageing, and is used by USW nursing students to develop their knowledge and skills when working with, and caring for, older people. 

The suit includes special overshoes, which are used to simulate an unsteady walk, while wraps restrict the mobility of knees.

A tremor device is used to mimic muscular shaking, and headphones match the effects of tinnitus – also known as "ringing in the ears".

Special spectacles simulate a range of eye disorders – such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, a detached retina, diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa. The suit can also simulate the physical effects of a stroke.

After putting on the suit and getting up from a chair in USW’s Clinical Simulation Centre, which is at its Glyntaff Campus, Lucy said: “Straightening up was really hard then. I just feel really uncomfortable. I feel so heavy.

“My legs feel really heavy. My feet feel really flat. I can only shuffle – there’s no way I could do a decent stride now.”

Lucy then continued walking outside, under the guidance of USW’s Jane Riddiford, Clinical Skills Trainer at the Clinical Simulation Suite.


A new Simulated Community House – which has two bedrooms, a bathroom and living room - is also opening at USW’s Glyntaff campus, which will give nursing students the chance to learn essential skills to support and treat patients in their own homes.

Nicky Genders, head of USW’s School of Care Sciences, said: “The age simulation suit offers a unique and realistic insight into the potential effects of ageing.

“Feedback from students demonstrates the value of the suit in enhancing their learning experience, helping them to understand more clearly a range of needs older people may have, which in turn helps the students to deliver more compassionate, person-centred care.

“The Community House enhances this experience – further widening experience for our students and preparing them for working with patients once they are in real-life situations.” 

For all enquiries relating to the USW Clinical Simulation Centre, its facilities, resources and staff training, contact Matthew Thornton Academic Manager for Practice Based Learning at [email protected]  or call 07799 639999.

Find out more about studying Nursing at the University of South Wales.

Lucy Owen: Middle Aged Me is due to be shown on BBC One Wales at 8.30pm on Monday, September 26.

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