At Woodbury Mews, we pour our hearts and souls into creating meaningful ways for residents of The Gardens, our Memory Care neighborhood, to learn, grow and connect with each other, themselves, their families and our associates. We utilize Expressive Arts, Physical Wellness and Watermark University to help residents thrive, one joyful moment at a time.
At the end of November we held a Virtual Dementia Tour® where community professionals and family members of residents living with dementia could experience what it might feel like. Scientifically proven to build a greater understanding through the use of patented sensory tools and instruction, this experience was created by P.K. Beville, PhD, an award-winning geriatric psychologist, dementia expert, and founder of Second Wind Dreams, Inc.
Participants were given 5 tasks to complete once they were outfitted with the materials to simulate an individual with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. This included headphones with audio of outside noises, glasses that restricted vision, gloves to simulate loss of dexterity or nerve damage and shoe inserts to simulate neuropathy. Each participant stated that they had difficulty understanding the tasks they were given at the start the simulation. Additionally, they found difficulty in completing the tasks that they were able to understand, due the simulation items listed above.
Everyone who attended appreciated the experience. For some, it was a way to better understand friends, family or for the professionals, their clients. It allowed them to better relate and take notice of actions (movements, mumbling, or speaking to oneself) of individuals with the condition and discern which of these behaviors resulted from stressors from trying to compartmentalize the tasks at hand.
Participants were able to gain a better understanding of the difficulties someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia might be dealing with on a daily basis and expressed their desire to be more empathetic to individuals with these conditions. They also shared tips for communicating that they picked up throughout the experience including making eye contact and not approaching from behind when communicating in case of hearing issues. The number one take-away was to have more patience when engaging, providing appropriate time for the individual to work through the completion of tasks.
The Virtual Dementia Tour allows us to educate family members and care partners of the difficulties associated with living with dementia, giving 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. If you are interested in attending a Virtual Dementia Tour, please contact us at 1-856-491-4920 to inquire about future offerings.
Read more in On Aging