In an effort to create Alzheimer’s disease awareness, one assisted living community is giving caregivers the opportunity to participate in a “virtual dementia tour” that simulates the loss of motor function suffered by those with the disease.
Learn more about this unique opportunity, the impact it’s having on caregivers and the awareness that it’s creating for Alzheimer’s across the U.S.
A Sense of Alzheimer’s
Silverado Memory Care created a program that simulates disabilities and the loss of motor function common to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The virtual dementia tour gives caregivers a first-hand look at what life is like living with the disease.
Dallas News reports that the community’s program gives caregivers, family members, first responders and social workers “four tasks with no reminders or second chances.” Those tasks are to: “Make the bed. Find the black jacket and fasten the zipper. Feed the dog. Take medication.” all while wearing goggles, gloves, headphones and shoe insoles, which decrease sensitivity and simulate cognitive impairment.
According to the article, caregiver Lari Weaver took the tour and “she managed to make the bed but could not find the jacket or pillbox. And she forgot to feed the dog.”
Weaver says of her experience, “I felt disoriented… if I had been by myself, I think I would’ve sat down and waited until someone told me what to do next.” She adds:
“We can take off the stuff, but that’s the way they live, and there’s no escape.”
Silverado Memory Care Facility Administrator, Micah Grace, says that the tour is part of their ongoing education about Alzheimer’s, and she adds that most of the community’s caregivers have participated to gain a better understanding of the disease.
Grace says she participated in the tour, and that “It opened up my mind and my heart for sensing what my residents and personal loved ones go through every day.”
Suzanne Cunningham’s mother- and father-in-law have dementia and live at the community, and she tells Dallas News that participating in the tour helped her better understand their behavior.
“Sometimes we focus too much on the cognitive issues and don’t realize the number of physical issues patients may experience… Even trying to process the smallest of tasks was difficult. It was eye-opening.”