Experience life as an individual with Alzheimer's via the Virtual Dementia Tour


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 3 senior citizens dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States — the only one among the top-10 causes that can’t be prevented, cured or slowed.
 
It’s both a heart-wrenching disease to watch, and to experience, as one’s memory fades and day-to-day tasks and actions progressively become more difficult.
 
To increase knowledge and awareness of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s and dementia, The Kenwood by Senior Star and Second Wind Dreams are joining forces to provide a mobile version of the Virtual Dementia Tour to the public now through the end of August.
 
“While many family members and caregivers feel compassionate toward a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may not fully understand the struggles and challenges associated with the disease,” says Tom Rotz, executive director of The Kenwood by Senior Star. “It is difficult to fully imagine what your loved one is experiencing and how their cognition is impacted.”
 
The VDT will allow caregivers, family members and friends to put themselves in the shoes of their loved ones in order to understand the ways that the disease alters cognition. By using everyday objects like thick gloves and dark glasses, the VDT — through a scientifically proven method — mimics life with the disease.
 
According to Rotz, it’s important for the individuals to experience the VDT so they can empathize, become more patient, and ultimately provide better care to those around them who might be suffering.
 
“Those who take the tour develop a deeper understanding of why their loved one may be frustrated and get angry, or shut down while talking," Rotz says. "If a loved one refuses to walk, perhaps they aren’t just stubborn, but might actually be in pain and have no idea how to express it. If a loved one shuts down, they might be frustrated, confused or distracted in their own thoughts. This helps our staff realize that there might be a deeper-rooted cause for the way someone is behaving, and if they take the time to ask questions and probe, they might be able to help.”

Do Good: 

•    Contact The Kenwood by Senior Star at 513-258-2815 to schedule a tour of the VDT.

•    Help fight Alzheimer's disease by making a donation to the Alzheimer's Association.

•    Learn more about the mobile VDT by following Second Wind Dreams' Facebook page.

 

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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