Raising awareness about Alzheimer's, dementia

Posted at 7:31 AM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 07:36:20-04

At Woodholme Gardens Assisted Living, memory care is taken seriously.

"It’s hard for people to focus on what they're doing from day to day," said Stacy Buckley, a dementia care specialist.

The facility opened its door Wednesday to educate the community about what living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is really like.  All to help loved ones deal with a heartbreaking situation.

"My dad had Alzheimer’s and he died about 10 years ago and he had aphasia so he couldn't speak, he couldn't communicate and he fell a lot and he just couldn't do anything for himself. And was very, very painful," Sue Sober, told ABC2.

This virtual dementia tour isn't high tech but it closely mimics what life is like with the disease.

"We gave them five simple tasks to do, draw a picture, fill up a cup of water, find a belt and put it on, find a sweater put it on," Buckley said.

"It was actually quite overwhelming and very difficult in the sense of what it must be like to a person in this situation with dementia," said Sober.

Participants were asked to put on headphones, special glasses, gloves and shoe inserts--all made to distort the senses.

"It gave me a sense of what it's like for somebody without senses or who can't understand what they're being told," Sober said.

For those who've lost family to these diseases, the tour was eye-opening.

"The idea of this exercise is to make sure that the people who are taking care of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia understand all the things that those managing deal with every day," Buckely said.

"They have very special needs and I think it takes someone with a tremendous amount of compassion," Sober said.

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