By Loretta Pigeon & Gerry Fioriglio RN, BS / Family Caregivers Network
It has been said until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you don’t know what life is like.
On July 9th Family Caregivers Network in conjunction with Arden Courts Memory Care Facility held a Virtual Dementia Tour, a journey that allows participants a chance to live five minutes in the shoes of a dementia patient.
As part of the community educational outreach programs offered by Family Caregivers Network nearly forty participants took part in this opportunity that physically and emotionally gave them a glimpse into what it means to live with dementia. The Virtual Dementia Tour involved physical effects such as wearing goggles and headphones that mimic vision and hearing impairments as well as wearing gloves and shoe inserts that mimic arthritis and other neurological ailments. The participants were then asked to perform daily activities. After attempting to complete these tasks they were able to see that day to day living can be unbearable to someone with dementia.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are one of the more prevalent diseases we see in the geriatric population. There are currently more than thirty-five million people per year world-wide suffering from dementia. Dementia is a debilitating disease that deteriorates a person’s memory and mental functions. It can severely affect behavior, decision-making and the ability to perform everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, and preparing meals. Dementia not only affects the people suffering from it but if can gravely affect family members, friends, caregivers and others who are exposed to people with this disease that is often hard to comprehend. This exposure using the Virtual Dementia Tour has helped us remember that compassion, patience and empathy are necessary virtues needed to care for our loved ones.
Family Caregivers Network is committed to providing quality care to the clients we serve. If you are concerned that a loved one may have some form of dementia, answer these questions:
- How is the person spending his or her time?
- Is he/she cooking meals, are they skipping meals?
- Do you notice weight loss?
- Is he/she managing finances? Paying their bills on time?
- Is she/he paying attention to their personal hygiene?
- Is the house clean?
- Do you worry constantly about their well-being?
The Dementia/Alzheimer’s program at Family Caregivers Network offers companionship, memory activities, along with respite for family members. To find out more information about the Dementia/Alzheimer’s Program call 215-541-9030 or stop in our office at 901 Main Street, Pennsburg, PA.