According to the Family Caregiver Alliance National Center on Caregiving, over 15 million family caregivers care for someone who has a form of dementia.
“Being a care giver is one of the most difficult jobs especially if its your spouse, a parent because it can be pretty difficult to see the person that you use to know, kind of be that different person with dementia.” Commonwealth Senior Living Executive Director Amber Foster says.
Commonwealth Senior Living Executive Director Amber Foster says, being that dementia types are so broad it can be challenging for caregivers to ever feel like they have enough education and understanding of the topic and of those who live with it.
“You might know that its very easy to put your pants on and put your belt on, but somebody that’s not understanding what you are trying to say and not able to perform the task it’s very hard for them.” Foster says.
Foster brought the the Virtual Dementia Tour to the center to provide staff and other area organizations the opportunity to experience the physical and emotional changes that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia cause.
“They will enter a room where they will be able to experience different things, be told to do some task and their behaviors are observed in the room the whole time.” Foster says.
Participants were given shoe inserts to mimic diabetic foot and leg pain, gloves to experience difficulty gripping things. Vision impairment glasses, and hearing loss headphones.
“I expected it to be a little easier than it actually was, I expected to be a little disoriented, but not to that degree.” Dana McFarren says.
Commonwealth Senior Living staff member Dana McFarren says the experience was eye-opening and it’s something that not only caregivers can benefit from.
“Families, staff members, even students who don’t work for our company, I think it’d be very enlightening for everyone.” McFarren says.
Commonwealth Senior Living says they hope to be used as a community resource to educate anyone about dementia and dementia care.