Helping people who have forms of dementia can be challenging in the best of circumstances, and it can be even more challenging during emergencies, especially if first responders are unfamiliar with the challenges dementia sufferers are facing themselves.
Brightmoor Hospice staffers recently took an entire morning to train Fayetteville Fire Fighters to not only identify the signs of dementia but also to understand how a dementia sufferer thinks and responds to everyday tasks and challenges. They call it the Virtual Dementia Tour, and firefighters said it opened their eyes even more to what these members of the community are going through.
Outfitted with special glasses, gloves and hearing limiters, participants are guided through several everyday activities to give them insights on what it would be like to do these things while struggling with dementia.
Based in nearby Griffin, Brightmoor Hospice launched its Virtual Demential Tour earlier this year. The recent training session at the Fayetteville Fire Department Headquarters was the company’s first-ever with public safety personnel.
“We are grateful they offered this training to us,” said Fire Department Division Chief Keith Harris. “The session went well. It deepened our personnel’s understanding of empathetically working with people who have dementia.
Brightmoor Hospice will offer another Virtual Dementia Tour at Heartis Living in Fayetteville on Thursday, Sept. 19. Call 770-461-2555 for more information.
This story originally appeared in the August 2019 edition of City News. Click here to visit the City News page.