Virtual Dementia Tour®
Caring for those with Alzheimer’s / Dementia requires empathy, patience, and special care. But how can people be empathetic when they have never experienced dementia?
The Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®) helps those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s / Dementia to identify with and understand their behavior. When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s / Dementia, it affects everyone-- families and friends and even the surrounding community.
Seven out of ten people with Alzheimer’s live at home, where family and friends provide 75% of the care. Because of the difficult behaviors and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, large numbers of people suffer from caregiver burnout, depression, and even suicide. The VDT® is designed to give caregivers hope through better understanding of this disease.
While this disease is often difficult, the VDT® gives hope by providing you with tools necessary to get through these difficult times. It teaches you to create a positive environment by simulating their dementia. Only by walking in their shoes, albeit briefly, can you develop an eye toward what would make YOU more comfortable if you were the one with dementia. Heightening your level of sensitivity will allow you to better cope and care.
For the person with Alzheimer’s disease there is an added insult. Depression can be a large part of the disease process. Depression added to Alzheimer’s disease increases cognitive decline.
Experts agree that education and proper training are the best ways to help caregivers to provide better care. The Virtual Dementia Tour® hopes to assist in this effort, by providing an experience that will help you better understand the issues facing both the caregiver and the loved one with Alzheimer’s.
We can experience what it would be like to be confined to a wheelchair, have vision problems, or arthritis; however, a person caring for someone with dementia has no idea what that might feel like. Lessening the chasm between us and our elders with dementia gives us a greater chance of meeting their needs.
Research has demonstrated that caregivers of cognitively impaired loved ones over-estimate their loved ones’ functional performance in telling time, counting currency, making change, brushing teeth, and using eating utensils. This misunderstanding of ability can result in anger on the part of the caregiver and frustration on the part of the loved one.
Over 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and by 2050 the number of people affected will range anywhere from 11.3 million to 16 million (National Institute on Aging).
Right at Home of Westchester County conducts the Virtual Dementia Tour® training for its Caregivers and the Community throughout the year. Regi Mathews, owner of Right at Home of Northern Westchester, Putnam & Duchess counties, is proud to conduct the Virtual Dementia Tour in Westchester County. We find that professional caregivers and family members alike always gain a deeper understanding of the sufferer.
This experience allows them to have more empathy and patience and ultimately results in better care for the client.
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