As the population ages, most people have seen dementia's impact on a friend or loved one.
They've seen the confusion, forgetfulness, irritability and depression. Witnessing dementia from the inside is a different story, however. The Virtual Dementia Tour, visiting Valley Park Retirement on July 10 at 2631 Fairway Drive in Fulton, will give participants a chance to do exactly that. Free tour slots are available 1-4 p.m.; RSVP at secondwind.org or by calling 573-220-3425.
The tour uses a variety of sensory tools to simulate what it's like to have dementia. Facilitators guide participants through a series of everyday tasks while the participants wear devices to alter their senses.
The experience isn't just for caretakers or those otherwise close to someone with dementia.
"The truth is that when dementia strikes, it strikes the whole community, not just the individual," said Second Wind Dreams, the organization behind the tour. "The Virtual Dementia Tour was also developed to provide a way for members of the community to have a glimpse into the world of dementia and then develop their own recommendations for their business, family, or anywhere that dementia is experienced."
The tour is designed to encourage empathy and accommodation toward those who have dementia. Families, churches, first responders, business owners and community organizations are especially encouraged to attend.
Virtual Dementia Tour also doubles as a fundraiser for Second Wind Dreams, a charity that aims to help the elderly live out their wishes and find their "second wind." Fulfilled dreams have included everything from a brunch with family members to earning an honorary degree to skydiving.