The Virtual Dementia Tour at Fleming Island

Fleming Island, Florida - April 2010

The Virtual Dementia Tour on March 11, 2010 had an exciting turnout of 94 people. It was an 8 minute experience where caregivers actually went through a simulation of what it is like to live with Alzheimer's. The caregiver had to wear a walkman which had sounds of people talking and distracting noises, goggles that impaired their vision, popcorn kernels in their shoes, and fingers taped together. They then were asked to go into  a room with a list of everyday tasks, to walk in the shoes of a person with Dementia. This exercise had an amazing response, people felt vulnerable, alone, helpless and in the end some cried. Many people's attitudes changed and had no idea what their loved one was going through. As a team we felt that we had accomplished our goal to make caregivers more aware and patient to someone with Alzheimer's.

Some Testimonials:

"The Virtual Dementia Tour is worth your while. I was taken aback to how confused I became when my sight and hearing was impaired, especially walking into a new place. It amazed me to see how I did not think to turn on the lights because of how confused I was. What I learned when speaking to someone with Alzheimer's is to be specific, and give them tasks one at a time and not a list."

Roxana Bush (Mom is Resident)

"Wow! What an eye opener. It's hard to realize what it is like living with dementia until you have walked in that person's shoes. The Dementia Tour allowed us to experience the ambient distractions of everyday living such as distorted sight, impaired hearing, lack of tactile feeling and a sense of confusion. This was made apparent when we tried to accomplish a set of assigned daily tasks. We would recommend the experience of this tour to everyone dealing with the elderly."

Don and Sherry MacGregor (Mom is Resident)

"I thought the Virtual Dementia Tour is a great experience for anyone wanting to learn more about Alzheimer's. I really felt confused and frustrated that I couldn't pick things up and walk normally, and the noise was distracting. In this situation it was very hard to carry out everyday task."

Theresa Turner (Dining Services)

"Thank you so much for this unforgettable opportunity! It's critical for friends, family and caregivers to see ourselves in the eyes of those afflicted by dementia. Even under such trying circumstances, we find universal experiences that make us all the same inside."

Matthew Barrett (The Brain Trainer)

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