MONT ALTO, Pa. (WDVM) — Several students and health care providers experienced the daily hardships of what it’s like to live with dementia.
Penn State Mont Alto partnered with Penn Cares Support Services to bring awareness and education regarding the effects the condition has on people of all ages. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, An estimated 5.8 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2019. The Dementia Live simulation was created by the AGE-u-cate Training Institute.
Dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by noticeable memory, thinking and behavioral symptoms that impair a person’s ability to function in daily life, along with evidence of an Alzheimer’s related brain change, The Alzheimer’s Association reported. Associate Professor, Dr. Jackie Schwab, introduced the simulation to her class.
“To help me try to comprehend what happens to the brain suffering from dementia and to be a better caretaker, I attended a DementiaLive simulation last spring. It gave me insight, and I wanted to provide that same experience for my students and others who may have someone in their lives dealing with this illness,” said Schwab in a press release.
Students and the public put on vision-impaired glasses, mitts and headphones which included sound distraction relative to what people with Dementia experience every day.
As the exercise took place, many of the people there described the simulation as “confusing and scary”. Overall, each group had the opportunity to reflect on how they felt afterward with Deborah Allen, Penn Cares executive director.
In Maryland, the association reported in 2015, that there were over 1,000 deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, in Pennsylvania at that time, there were over 4,000 deaths from it.