Take the virtual dementia tour - AmericaNowNews.com


Take the virtual dementia tour

The Virtual Dementia Tour helps caregivers for the elderly learn firsthand what it's like to step into the shoes of someone who suffers from dementia. America Now host, Leeza Gibbons recently took the tour with three caregivers. These few minutes changed her life.

Before beginning the virtual dementia experience Leeza spoke with P. K. Beville, the inventor of the VDT shared some important insights and information.

"Millions of family caregivers out there are not trained and they have a loved one living at home who is going deeper and deeper into the abyss. What is it you see most in these people and that you hope most to give them," asks Leeza.

"I think so many times families are as struck by the disease as the person with dementia and they become immobilized. One of the ways they cope with it is to try to put a little bit of a screen between themselves and the person that they love," says Beville, "There are so many ways that people can introspectively look at this disease and my hope is that this is their opportunity to do that."

"I'm about to do it and I have little butterflies. I really do, I have little butterflies because I'm about to experience something that my mom experienced. And my mom is gone, my grandmom's gone and it makes me feel closer to them. And I feel a little bit guilty because I didn't get to do it while they were living," says Leeza.

"Once a lot of family members who have experienced what you have experienced, go through it, the first thing that lights up in their head is, 'wow, I wish I had known,'" says Beville.

The tour starts by being outfitted with devices that simulate certain aspects of dementia along with physical impairments many seniors experience. The gloves cause loss of fine motor skills, so buttoning clothes becomes difficult. The goggles simulate macular degeneration and loss of peripheral vision, and the headphones restrict and distort hearing and comprehension.

Once geared up, Beville gave Leeza some tasks to perform in about five minutes – all sound simple – similar to what our loved ones with dementia might need to do in their daily lives.

Beville gives Leeza these instructions, "Set the table for 4, find and count out 17 cents in change and put it in the change purse, write down 5 brown things you would buy in the grocery store, fold all the towels, find the sweater and put it on and button 3 buttons. Your time starts now."

At this point Leeza is asked to perform some simple tasks while 'geared up'.

"Was I supposed to do something with the medicine? Oh, my gosh, I'm supposed to do something with the medicine," says a frustrated Leeza.

When it was over, everyone was stunned. But Leeza didn't expect it to affect her so deeply.

"That's really something, that's really something," says Leeza tearing up, "I don't think we realize how hard it is for them. You know. How hard it is. I couldn't remember three things she told me to do."

"Can you imagine being in an environment were you have this disease and nobody's giving you the details?," asks Beville.

"I really feel that this 'dementia' population is so misunderstood and so undervalued. And this really does give us a way to close the gap as you say, as a way to close the gap," says Leeza.

Copyright 2014 America Now. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Parents desperate to get their troubled sleepers to bed are turning to synthetic melatonin, which is a supplement sold over the counter. But expert warn it could have adverse effects on child development.
    Many adults turn to sleep aids like melatonin, but now more parents are giving them to their kids, too. We talked to physicians to see what they had to say about how it could affect your child's development.
  • Six deadly foods for dogs

    Six deadly foods for dogs

    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods
    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. But these common snacks could be fatal for Fido.
  • Mouse droppings cause disease

    Mouse droppings cause respiratory disease

    Mice are one of the most resilient mammals living on the planet. Some people have them as pets, and they're also used in laboratory experiments. If wild mice get inside your house, they can potentially
    If wild mice find a way inside your home, they can potentially cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your drywall and insulation. They can also transmit a harmful disease which can cause death in humans. 
Powered by WorldNow