A Virtual Way to Experience Life with Dementia Returns to The Saybrook at Haddam

April 21, 2016

The Saybrook at Haddam has teamed up again with Right at Home senior home care and staffing service to present a “virtual tour” of what it is like to have dementia. The tour is a national program that allows caregivers, health care providers, first responders and other individuals who interact with those suffering from memory illnesses to truly experience their daily challenges and realities. The Saybrook at Haddam will host the tour on Wednesday, April 27, from 4 – 6 p.m., and has set aside a few spaces for local community members to attend for free. Interested individuals should contact Brooke Conley at 860.345.3779 with questions or to reserve a space.

VDT LogoKnown officially as the “Virtual Dementia Tour” or VDT, this event requires participants to wear specially made equipment to help them live with all of the symptoms and effects of dementia. This includes gloves that simulate the loss of fine motor skills, headsets that emit various background noises, eyeglasses that simulate macular degeneration (complete with dark circles affecting vision), and shoe inserts that create a “pins-and-needles” feeling similar to that caused by nerve deterioration. Attendees then walk around, do basic housekeeping chores, talk and interact with others, and simply live with all of the typical impediments of a dementia patient’s world.

“The VDT program purposefully immerses attendees in a state of discomfort, isolation, uncertainty and confusion that dementia patients experience every day,” explained Brooke Conley, licensed social worker at The Saybrook at Haddam. “The tour’s authenticity really hits home with everyone who takes part and changes the way we interact and care for those with dementia and memory-related diseases. We are so glad for the opportunity to bring this powerful event back to our community.”

Last year, The Saybrook at Haddam presented VDT as a tool for its care team and for other members of the staff who work on a daily basis with individuals living with many different stages of memory illness.

The event is hosted at The Saybrook at Haddam, 1556 Saybrook Rd., Haddam, Conn.  Private tours of the independent retirement, assisted living, and memory care community, which are held daily, can be scheduled by clicking here or by calling 860-345-3779.

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