TOLEDO (WTOL) - University of Toledo Occupational Therapy students got an eye-opening experience through a virtual dementia tour administered to the students by caregivers at West Park Place, an assisted living center.
The students were given a series of five tasks to complete in eight minutes.
It may sound easy, but first they put on special glasses, gloves, shoe inserts and headphones with sound streaming through. It was all to help the students understand what it’s like, living with dementia. It’s not just having trouble remembering things, but also the numbness and pain in the hands and feet.
“All of our senses were completely altered and just walking into the room was extremely overwhelming,” said Occupational Therapy Doctorate student, Lauren Banks.
“You’re not aware that it affects all your senses. Not necessarily just your memory. The way you touch. The way you walk and just the way you think," added Fellow student, Mallory Washburn.
The goal is to help the students learn to be more patient with those they're caring for and to not overwhelm them.
“Know that they’re not doing that purposely. They’re trying to remember what they were told and want to do the right thing,” explained West Park Place Program Director, Carol Nadaud.
“We can read about dementia and Alzheimer’s Diseases in textbooks and learn best practices, how to work with people with those conditions, but it doesn’t come to life on the page as coming and having a first-hand experience," University of Toledo Associate Professor of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program, Alexia Metz said.
The message was received.
“I think I have a lot more empathy and understanding,” said Banks.