Tour lets people experience dementia

August 2, 2009 7:28:04 AM PDT
Disability simulation programs are designed to educate people about different disabilities. The virtual dementia tour gives people the opportunity to experience Alzheimer and dementia.

Professionals and family members participate in the virtual dementia tour at Arden Courts Alzheimer's Assisted Living in Elk Grove Village.

"How the tour works is before everybody comes in they all get a number and we read them a list of instructions about what to expect for the tour. We bring them to one of our resident rooms and we put some items on them to simulate what it's like to have dementia," said Nicole Bartecki, marketing manager. "From there we give them five simple instructions and then send them into the room with three minutes to complete the five tasks."

These five tasks are commonly the most problematic for people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

"Unbuttoning the collar on the shirt to put the tie on, the figures full of split peas, it was hard to do," said Dr. Christopher D'Agostino, a geriatric psychiatrist.

Jan Gangniadek's mom has Alzheimer's.

" Setting the table. I knew how to set a table but actually using my fingers to set the table was very difficult and I didn't have all my fingers to use, it became very difficult to move around and set the table," said Gangniadek.

Arden Courts is the only one doing this program in the Chicago area at no cost.

"We do it out of all our different locations and we take it on the road as well. We've done it in hospital settings for all the hospitals," said Bartecki. "Were trying to get it out to anybody who's working with senior population and especially those who work with the dementia population."

"I think people working with older adults. I think it will make alot of sense just from the standpoint of just understand how difficult it is for folks just to take care of even the most simple activities of daily living," said D'Agostino.

" It taught me a lot. I think I get frustrated at times you know I want to go I want to go and she's very slow about doing things and this taught me that yeah its going to take her longer to get ready and do things," said Gangniadek.

Arden Courts has seven locations in the Chicago area. For information on the Elk Grove location, visit hcr-manorcare.com or call (847) 534-8815.


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