By Anne Eickstadt

COURTESY PHOTO Belvidere Republican
The Virtual Dementia Tour uses sensory stimulation to provide family and professional caregivers a way to experience the challenges faced by those living with dementia.

Editor

Community members were invited to take a walk in the shoes of someone with dementia through the use of the internationally known Virtual Dementia Tour. This is a 10-minute sensory experience that gives those with full cognition the ability to understand what the disease of dementia sounds, looks, and feels like. This experience was held on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Boone County Council on Aging, located at 2141 Henry Luckow Lane in Belvidere.

The Virtual Dementia Tour uses educational resources and sensory stimulation to provide family and professional caregivers a way to experience the challenges faced by those living with dementia. Created by Second Wind Dreams, the Virtual Dementia Tour is scientifically proven to increase knowledge and understanding of those caring for individuals with dementia.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with the Tour specialists and don patented devices that alter their senses. Shoe inserts simulated foot discomfort and pain. Hands were encased in heavy plastic gloves and specially constructed, heavier, padded gloves so caregivers could learn how clumsy that once nimble fingers are like for their charges. A special set of goggles blocked peripheral vision and simulated the vision distortion those with dementia must deal with. Finally, earphones blaring babble, background sounds, sirens, crashes, and other loud noises were placed on participants’ heads. They were then given tasks in an adapted environment, which allowed them to experience the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face every day.

This free community event was sponsored by Azura Memory Care and the Boone County Council on Aging.

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For complete article, pick up the Oct. 4 Belvidere Republican.