Alzheimer's Resource center provides unique experience for community

Published: Aug. 27, 2019 at 6:44 PM AKDT
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The Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska is offering consultations, memory screenings, support groups and classes for care-partners with a variety of subjects. This is including a recent class on what games and brain teasers can help patients with dementia. All classes require you to register ahead of time.

A current unique experience that community members can experience is the Virtual Dementia Tour. It was developed by P.K. Belville of Second Wind Dreams and provides participants with an experiential simulation to help understand what dementia may be like. Joan Adams, the program director was there to comment.

“It’s an opportunity to create an experience for individuals to have a better understanding of what it might be like for someone who has dementia. We can’t obviously make changes in the brain but we do make other changes and create an environment for them to have an experience so that they have a better knowledge and understanding of their loved one or their friend.”

Adams says that this experience helps caregivers and family members be a lot more patient and understanding with their loved ones as they understand as the program simulates changes in your brain and body, such as walking uncomfortably on spiked pads, hearing dissonant voices in your ears with a headset and having limited vision glasses and restrictive clothing. All these simulate the difficulties of everyday life for some patients.

“The thing that I want and the whole point that I’m here is that I want people to know that I’m available as a resource because I do a lot of liaison a lot of advocacy for folks as well as providing support and education people don’t understand about Alzheimer’s. It’s kind of like how cancer used to be. There’s a lot of myths and stigmas about what it’s supposed to be like that are really not based in fact”, said Adams.

Though this simulation isn’t an accurate simulation of what every dementia patient experiences, it’s a step closer in understanding the disease from an outside perspective.

Those interested can contact Joan Adams to schedule the Virtual Dementia Tour at the Fairbanks office.

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