When working with the elderly, we experience clients with dementia regularly, but do we know how a person feels who is experiencing dementia?

Dementia nursing

The Virtual Dementia Tour

We recently had the opportunity to experience some of how it feels to have dementia. It was enlightening when Finesa, from Ascend Hospice along with other staff, came in and took us through this unique training, The Virtual Dementia Tour.

An Increase is Expected

By 2025, experts expect a 30% increase in Alzheimer’s in Americans.  Businesses and communities need the training to help better understand the challenges facing those with dementia.  The Virtual Dementia Tour is a next step resource by Second Wind Dreams, a nonprofit organization, working to change the perception of our aging population.

Getting Started dementia testing

The trainers outfitted us with goggles that impaired our vision and headphones that simulated hearing loss. The headphones also created sounds with varying decibel levels, which compromised our ability to understand some speech and an occasional sound of alarms that created confusion. Bulky gloves were given to us to simulate the loss of fine motor skills and shoe inserts that mimic atrophy and compromise mobility.

The Tasks

Once we were entirely outfitted, we were given instructions and eight minutes to complete five tasks in a one of our bedrooms.  An example of the tasks assigned were:

  • Feed the dog.
  • Remove three pills from a pill bottle and place them in a cup.
  • Get a butterscotch candy from a dish and open it.
  • Put laundry on a hanger and put it away in the closet.
  • Find a sweater and putting it on.

The Outcome

Each of these tasks were very difficult, and many of us couldn’t complete the job.  The experience provided a sense of what dementia feels like. At a minimum, the experience was very eye-opening, way more than any of us expected.

The Virtual Dementia Tour provided us hands-on sensitivity training that enables us as caregivers to have a better understanding of the challenges our clients living with dementia experience. Thank you Ascend Hospice for giving the staff at Waterford Ladies Home the opportunity to be a part of this training.

Contact us if you would be interested in taking part in this virtual training.