Having hosted several tours, I can say this is an awarding experience if you truly want to have a better understanding for your loved ones daily struggle with dementia. Having watched people go through this very “simple” yet “difficult” task I can say I saw the emotions and questions begin. Various people who have completed this tour have cried, had an Ah Ha! moment, were speechless, upset, annoyed, frustrated, questioning; you name it, we saw it all. This disease is not easy to understand and this tour can give you a glimpse into the life of someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
I tell people, do not do this tour thinking you are about to figure out this diagnosis, because you can’t. Complete the Virtual Dementia Tour so you can become better educated and understand why the simplest task like folding a towel is now difficult, frustrating, and most importantly not the same as it use to be.
Think to yourself, what if this seemingly easy task was now difficult. What would you do? How would you act? If you do not know, come see us for this tour. We will guide you through daily tasks and you can tell us how it made YOU feel. Also think about how you reacted to your loved one while they were having difficulty. Come see us and take the tour. Our hope is that educating family members of the difficulties associated with living with dementia may give them a better understanding of what their loved one goes through on a daily basis as well as a clearer understanding of the responsibilities and expectations of caregivers.
Give us a call to set up a time.
Due to the amazing success of the Virtual Dementia Tour, this program is quickly making its way to many of our Watermark communities. Below are some reactions from those who have witnessed others going through the tour.
- “They were amazed how depressed it made them feel, and helpless and angry,” said Kathy Baksi, Social Worker in The Springs. “Family members who don’t understand dementia can easily become impatient and frustrated,” said Amy Snyder, Administrator at The Watermark.
- Danyel Wilson, a staff member at Vintage Hills, said the simulation helps caregivers because it makes it easier to understand what’s happening in a dementia patient’s life. She said before anyone starts the exercise, they fill out a questionnaire and then they fill out the same questionnaire again at the end. “It’s amazing to see the difference from beginning to end,” Wilson said. She said it made the staff stop and think about how they were giving directions to dementia patients. “Now we give them step-by-step directions and we make sure it’s spaced out,” Wilson said. She said “anyone can read a book or do research on what dementia is and feels like, but it’s hard to understand what it actually feels like.”
- Annette Grochala, Executive Director of Vintage Hills, said “the simulation has not only improved empathy among the staff, but helps them on a deeper level.” “Day after day some people ask our care takers ‘how do I do this? How do I do that’ and they get tired of hearing it over and over,” Grochala said. “This lets our staff know there’s something else going on and it’s not just performing the task that’s difficult.” She said the simulation is a great thing for anyone who interacts with people who have dementia including firefighters, public safety officers and sales people. “It gives you more understanding and more patience for what’s happening in their lives,” Grochala said.
Read more in On Aging