Family members and caregivers experience many things when caring for an Alzheimer's patient. One of the more common feelings (aside from caregiver burnout) is a high degree of frustration. Caring for someone with Alzheimer's Disease can be exhausting, especially if the caregiver has little experience with Alzheimer's issues. Ever wonder aloud… What does Alzheimers Disease feel like?
A new patented training experience is helping people experience Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms, and it's proving to be a wonderful training tool for caregivers (and family members alike). Geriatric Specialist P.K. Bevelle (founder and CEO of Atlanta-based Second Wind Dreams) developed a sensory alteration tool which simulates the effects of “age-related cognitive or physical decline”. In other words, it simulates what it's like to live with a disease like Alzheimer's or dementia.
Volunteers are fitted with gloves, and some fingers are taped (to simulate arthritic joints, etc.). They also get fitted with shoe implants which make it more difficult to walk. Then the most interesting part of the simulation… Volunteers wear eye goggles (which simulate macular degeneration and/or cataracts) as well as headphones that mimic the confusing sounds that many Alzheimer's sufferers complain of. The results are astounding. Simple tasks become difficult or near impossible. Something as simple as “finding a white sweater” is an exercise in futility.
We found a dramatic video posted on YouTube, that puts P.K. Bevelle's training tool to the test. It's utilized by a real caregiver (a family member to someone with Alzheimer's disease), as well as a news reporter covering a story on caregivers. After just 12 minutes in the virtual Alzheimer's environment, their lives were changed forever. Being able to relate to what Alzheimer's and dementia sufferers go through gives people a perspective they never could have imagined. After watching this video, we hope you gain some new perspectives on caregiving, just as we did.