How Virtual Dementia Tour Helps Temecula Team Members Improve the Lives of Those with Dementia

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have dementia? A Virtual Dementia Tour enables Highgate at Temecula care partners to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face and to use the experience to provide better person-centered care.

People taking Virtual Tours

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be difficult. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the person with dementia? That’s exactly what a Virtual Dementia Tour is — a window into the world of dementia through individualized experiential learning.”

Created by P.K. Beville, a specialist in geriatrics and the founder of Second Wind Dreams, Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) is one of the many tools team members at Highgate at Temecula use to develop understanding and empathy for people with dementia, their caregivers, and their family members.

“The saying ‘Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes’ is exactly what a virtual dementia tour is,” says Katrina Custodio, the Life Enhancement Coordinator at Highgate at Temecula. “After participating in a VDT, our care partners have experienced firsthand what it is like to live with dementia. By knowing what dementia feels like, we can better approach our care for our residents.”

What Exactly Is a Virtual Dementia Tour?

During a Virtual Dementia Tour, trained facilitators guide participants outfitted with patented devices that alter their senses while they try to complete common everyday tasks and exercises.

For example, team members at Highgate at Temecula might put on a pair of VDT glasses that make them see their surroundings through the yellowish-orange haze and simulate macular degeneration, diminished depth perception, and loss of peripheral vision, which many people with dementia experience as the disease progresses and as they age.

Or Highgate care partners might put on a pair of VDT gloves, which are designed to hinder their sense of touch, simulating what a person with dementia might experience as the part of their brain that tells the sensory endings in their hand to feel gradually become more impaired.

“You are given headphones that obstruct your hearing with loud noises, gloves that affect the way you pick up things or button up a jacket, and glasses that prevent you from seeing,” says LaTresh Walker, Healthcare Director at Highgate at Temecula. “Once you are given these items, you are given a simple task to perform in a certain amount of time.”

How Does VDT Help Sensitize Care Partners?

Highgate at Temecula uses Virtual Dementia Tour to build a greater understanding of dementia.

“It helps our care partners realize that when you have dementia, you lose the ability to perform a simple task like picking up a pen or buttoning up a shirt,” Walker says. “They learn to become more patient and understanding.”

Research shows that this type of sensitivity training helps give caregivers a broader sense of the patient's perspective.

“The Virtual Dementia Tour enables our care partners to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face and to use the experience to provide better person-centered care,” Custodio says.

Whether it’s nighttime wandering, confusion, repetitive questions, incontinence, or just wanting “to go home,” the team members at Highgate at Temecula understand and have the expertise to handle these concerns.

“We also encourage the participation of our residents’ loved ones as well, which helps the families to better understand their loved one with dementia,” Custodio says. “Educating and including them in with why and how we approach our residents creates a healthy environment for everyone to provide the best care and purposeful life.”

To ensure residents are living each day to the fullest, Highgate team members go above and beyond everyday care, providing exercise classes, music therapy, and relaxing massages and offering a variety of activities and outings for fun.

To see the energy, devotion, and love it takes to care for those with memory loss in action, schedule a tour of Highgate at Temecula today.

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