Virtual dementia tour offers insight to caregivers

Tour helps others understand those who struggle with dementia

Author: Ursula Pari, Anchor, upari@ksat.com
Published On: Apr 18 2012 07:06:10 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 18 2012 10:00:01 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

Morningside Ministries is hosting a Virtual Dementia Tour for caregivers and the general public to offer insight and understanding for those struggling with short-term memory loss or dementia.

The tour was created by P.K. Beville, of Second Wind Dreams, and is being presented by mmLearn.org, a website devoted to the care of senior citizens.

It currently offers more than 300 videos to help seniors and those who care for them, including training and inspirational videos.

The need for sensitivity and understanding of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia is growing daily, especially given that one in eight people aged 25 and older is already suffering from the conditions. 

As the Baby Boomer population ages, those numbers are exploding into a health care crisis.

The Virtual Dementia Tour begins by outfitting “tourists” with special gloves filled with lentils that are taped up to mimic those with nerve damaged and arthritic hands. 

Specially fogged and marked goggles are donned to simulate glaucoma.

Next, the tourist is given one chance to take note of five tasks and then set loose in a loud, strobe lit, messy apartment to begin their work.

While attempting the simple job of finding a white sweater and putting in on, it is quickly made apparent that no activity will be easily accomplished in this room. 

Tourists fumble around and mutter to themselves in the course of attempting the exercise, mimicking perhaps the appearance of a flustered and frustrated dementia patient.

When a timer sounds, the tour is over and the counseling begins to help the “tourist” understand how their behavior and emotional journey can help them understand physical and mental challenges of those with Dementia.

Morningside Ministries, which is San Antonio’s oldest and largest nonprofit, faith-based senior care organization, will be offering the tour to not only all their employees, but to the public as well.

It will open its doors on April 25 at The Manor at 602 Babcock Road. To make a reservation, you may call 210-731-1000.   

Space is limited and tours will be given on a first come, first served basis.

More information on the care of seniors can be found on mmLearn.org as well.