Virtual Dementia Tour®:
If We Had Only Known Then What We’ve Learned Now…
“When our mother was diagnosed with dementia we did not know anything about how to care for her,” said sisters Lois Hunt and Barbara Jones. “We basically did everything wrong that first year.”
The sisters recall the frustration their mother felt as she realized she was changing. She feared and continually asked the doctor if she had Alzheimer’s Disease. When the diagnosis finally came it was devastating for all of them.
“We devised all kinds of systems so she could match her clothes, use the phone, and read the clock—but they didn’t work,” said Hunt.
When a Caldwell Hospice staff member shared some dementia care resources with them, they realized that there were better ways to provide care and resources available to help. “You know, we just didn’t know!” said Jones. “We thought we were helping.”
They cared for their mother until her death at 87, and when Caldwell Hospice began to offer the Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT) the sisters knew they had to be a part of it. Both Hunt and Jones, along with other Caldwell Hospice staff and volunteers, completed the specialized training to facilitate VDT opportunities for the community.
“When VDT participants come in saying ‘I just don’t know what to do’ and searching for help, we can say we understand—because we do!” continues Jones.
“Even today, we look at each other and say ‘If we had only known then what we’ve learned now’,” says Hunt. That sentiment drives the sisters to honor their mother and provide resources for those on that same journey.
Their mother would be so proud!
The Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT) is an original, ground-breaking, evidence-based, and scientifically proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia. The truth is that when dementia strikes, it strikes the whole community, not just the individual. Thanks to the VDT, health care professionals, family caregivers, business leaders, consumer advocates, first responders and educators are experiencing for themselves the physical and mental challenges facing people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The VDT uses patented sensory tools and instruction based on research conducted by P.K. Beville, MS, a specialist in geriatrics and the founder of Second Wind Dreams®. During a VDT experience, trained facilitators guide participants outfitted with patented devices that alter their senses while they try to complete common everyday tasks. The VDT enables caregivers to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face, and use the experience to provide better person-centered care.
“The solution to Alzheimer’s disease today and in the foreseeable future is in developing a better and more personal understanding of the day-to-day challenges facing those with the disease,” says Beville. “The VDT program is the tool that makes that understanding possible.”
Caldwell Hospice recognized the need and created its dementia care program in 2011 to better serve patients with dementia and their families. “Dementia affects an increasing number of Caldwell Hospice patients and their families, not to mention others in our community,” says Martha Livingston, BSW, one of only five VDT Certified Trainers in North Carolina and 67 in the world. “It is important that we educate and encourage caregivers, families, and friends so they don’t give up in frustration and desperation.”
Caldwell Hospice is excited to offer the following Virtual Dementia Tour® to our community:
The Virtual Dementia Tour is not appropriate for persons diagnosed with dementia.
Participants are led through the 45-minute experience in 10-minute intervals and only need to be present for their appointment time. Appointments are required and space is limited. To reserve your space or learn more about the Virtual Dementia Tour®, please call 828.754.0101 or 1.844.MY.JOURNEY or email firstname.lastname@example.org.