Patient Referral

Virtual Dementia tour provides inside look at the disease

Cleveland 19

NORTH RANDALL, OH (WOIO) - More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and by 2050, that number could rise to 16 million, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

One local organization is teaching people how to care for those with the disease. Crossroads Hospice sponsored a "Virtual Dementia Tour" this week at Suburban Pavilion in North Randall.

Cleveland 19 News reporter Sia Nyorkor took the tour. 

After completing paperwork, she suited up with foot inserts, gloves, headphones, and goggles. Trainers told her it was so she could experience some of what a person with dementia experiences when their senses are impaired.

Nyorkor headed to a room where staffers gave her tasks to complete like straightening up a room. The exercise was about 25 minutes.

She told the staffers she felt anxious after struggling to complete the tasks.

One of the staffers asked her how it made her feel.

"That was terrible! Crummy. Sad," she said. "It was bad."

After the tour, staffers sat down to talk about some of the challenges and how they can improve the quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer's.

"I didn't know. Now I feel like my eyes are open because I feel like I walked in their shoes -- literally," said Nyorkor.

To learn more about "Virtual Dementia Tour," click here.