With the sound of sirens and loud voices ringing in my ears, I stumble forward, my feet feeling prickly, and my hands useless in gloves. The room seems so dark and I can only see what is directly in front of me. I was given instructions that I couldn’t hear or understand, so I become fixated on folding towels –a simple task which seems impossible.
I feel frustrated, agitated, and self-conscious.
This was my experience of the Virtual Dementia Tour – a dementia simulation program offered to all Wesley Willows staff.
Before the tour begins, you are given a number of items to accurately simulate the dementia experience:
- Glasses to simulate macular degeneration, lack of peripheral vision, and reduce sight
- Gloves which limit your dexterity and simulate a person with dementia’s inability to understand sensory information
- Shoe inserts to mimic neuropathy
- Headphones which create an auditory sensory overload
Once outfitted, someone is giving me five tasks to complete inside an apartment.
Seems simple? Trust me, it really isn’t.
But I had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of someone with dementia, as will each of our staff members. This smallest glimpse into the condition can be transformational.
Two staff members at Wesley Willows are facilitators for the Virtual Dementia Tour, and will embark on leading all staff on campus through the tour. Wesley Willows also has 9 certified dementia practitioners on staff. Dementia is a progressive, degenerative neurological condition that significantly impairs brain activity. By better understanding how a person impacted by dementia experiences the world, Wesley Willows is able to provide a higher level of compassionate care for those living with dementia and for their families.
We are committed to providing the highest level of service, and proud to take creative approaches like the Virtual Dementia Tour to ensure we are doing so.