Come take virtual tour of dementia

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 6, 2017

According to the National Alzheimer’s Association, five million Americans are affected by dementia in some form or fashion.  As a caregiver, family member, friend or individual you are not alone. The reality of dementia means that your life is forever changed; your memories, your ideas, your knowledge, your life style, your bank account, your relationships and your health will never be the same.

Losing independence and dignity are two of the causalities that come with this disease. Often we are unaware of the changes that are happening with ourselves or a loved one. We may feel we are a little more forgetful, sometimes confused, but that comes with age, right? Those things do come with age, but dementia adds another layer to those symptoms. So how do you know and what do you do?

Diagnosis is the first step and education follows right behind.  There are many sources for diagnosis and consulting your primary care physician is a great place to begin. Once diagnosed, it is important to identify a support system. You may want to look to family members, friends and support groups to accompany you on this journey.

In the education process, it is important to learn about and understand what type of dementia you are dealing with and what the best course of treatment is. Dementia is a progressive disease and hard to slow down, so acting quickly and forcefully is prudent.

The expression “Have you ever walked in someone else’s shoes?” is a phrase that the Second Wind Dreams foundation uses to help those that are supporting someone with a dementia diagnosis understand a small amount of what having dementia is really like.

The Second Wind Dreams foundation was founded in 1997 by Geriatric Specialist, P.K. Beville, Second Wind Dreams is recognized as the first in the United States to focus on enhancing the quality of life for elders and changing society’s perception of aging by making elder dreams come true and creating the patented educational program, The Virtual Dementia Tour.  Second Wind Dreams was created to bring elders to the forefront of our society by enriching their lives and empowering them to age with dignity, hope and joy. Beville’s belief is that dream fulfillment increases our understanding of our elders, and plays an important role in giving them a Second Wind.

“After experiencing the sensory tour you will understand the overwhelming effects of the ageing process when combined with dementia. This life-changing experience can also help you make better caregiving and health decisions by knowing what your clientele may be coping with on a daily basis.”

Hospice Compassus & Palliative Care are working with Merit Health Natchez to accommodate this Tour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 10 at Merit Health Natchez in the Magnolia Room.

Please contact Jenny Townsend at 601-870-3463 or Jason Dauphin at 601-324-6012 to reserve your spot. Seating is limited so register early.

For more information on the Second Wind Dreams Foundation and the Virtual Dementia Tour please visit seconwind.org. The tour has been featured on ABC Nightline, The Today Show, and on the Doctors as well. We hope you will join us for an emotional journey to experience the realities of life for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Alicia Norris is the licensed master social worker at Merit Health Natchez Behaviroal Health Unit.