Edgewater and Davidsonville residents can soon take a virtual walk in the shoes of a person suffering from dementia thanks to the
The department has partnered with the National Family Caregiver Support Program to put together five Virtual Dementia Tours to take place across the county in September and October—including tours at Brightview Senior Living in Edgewater.
Spokeswoman Mary Felter said the tours will allow family and caregivers to get a glimpse into the physical and mental challenges faced by people with dementia.
"The people who are going to participate are put in a room where we dress them with special gloves, shoes and some sort of head gear," Felter said.
Each item limits mobility and obstructs some of a person's senses.
"You are then personally led into a room and given instructions like 'fold a towel' or 'put on a shirt,'" Felter said. "A lot of people can't hear anything at all. One woman I saw try the tour was just frozen in place unsure of what to do."
She said the tour shows caregivers how difficult and confusing everyday tasks can be for people suffering from arthritis, glaucoma and Alzheimer’s.
According to a press release from the department, there are approximately more than 5.4 million Americans 65 or older suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is the overriding diagnosis for people suffering from cognitive impairments—the largest category under dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
Felter said after the tour "most people are like 'thank God, now I know what I'm dealing with.'"
Registration for the five tours begins July 23 online and by telephone at 410-222-4464, ext. 3043. Felter said space is limited.
"It's like anything else, you walk a mile in somebody’s shoes you understand them better," Felter said.
Virtual Dementia Tour dates, times and locations:
• Sept. 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Sunrise Senior Living, 43 W. McKinsey Rd., Severna Park.
• Sept. 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Somerford Place, 2717 Riva Rd., Annapolis. Free on-site care will be available.
• Sept. 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Fairfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1454 Fairfield Loop, Crownsville.
• Sept. 26, 10 a.m.-noon and 6:30-8:30 p.m., Brightview South River, 8 Lee Airpark Dr., Edgewater.
• Oct. 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Morningside House of Friendship Assisted Living and Dementia Care, 7548 Old Telegraph Rd., Hanover.