MARQUETTE — A local assisted living community also offers memory care to their residents and their families. Part of those services include a Virtual Dementia Tour. ABC Ten’s Sarah Mac was able to take the tour and experience what it’s like to have the disease.

When most people talk about dementia or Alzheimer’s disease they think of the most common side effect, memory loss, but they don’t realize how many other symptoms there are.

That’s where the Virtual Dementia Tour comes in at Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Certified Dementia Practitioner Lise Plis says, “What we do is we kind of give you a taste of what is called ADL’s, activities of daily living. You know so these are common things that you do everyday – taking medications, brushing your teeth, washing your face, getting dressed, just the things you do on an everyday basis that someone with dementia might struggle with.”

For this virtual tour you are given plastic foot-pads to simulate the prickly feeling on the bottom of your feet that someone with dementia might have. You are also given gloves, orange-hue glasses and an mp3 player to temporarily impair your senses. After you get geared up you are brought into a living space and asked to complete simple tasks. It’s harder than it looks. The simulation is recommended for family members who have a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s or a related disease.

The experience is also open to those who serve the community like police officers, firefighters and parishioners.

Father Tim Ferguson says, “I remember from my work in the Seminary, talking with a woman, and I jsut asked what her name was, and she got all confused and very panicked, and she says, ‘I don’t know, and that’s something I should know, isn’t it?'”

Father Tim Ferguson recently took the tour himself and says that it will help him better understand those in the community who suffer from one of the many forms of dementia.

“My first impression was just how much my senses were dulled,” Father Tim added, “how much things that I was used to feeling and hearing and seeing were kind of cloudy. It really brought home the need for patience for clarity and for simplicity in dealing with people that are struggling with this.”

There is no cure for this disease, but there are some medications out there that can slow the progression.

For more information about Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care click here.

For more information about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease click here.

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