Experiencing the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT), a program of Second Wind Dreams (secondwind.org) created by P. Beville a specialist in geriatrics, is designed to instill hope in professional and family caregivers, providing them with a tool to move from sympathy to empathy. The VDT helps provide caregivers with a better understanding of the behaviours and needs of their loved ones and patients suffering from some form of dementia.
Following the brief 5-7 minute tour each participant goes through a debriefing to assist in identifying both the physical and emotional sensations of their experience. It’s during this particular session that participants often break down in tears as they share their feelings of anxiety, frustration and even anger at their inability to accomplish simple, everyday tasks. Although this simulated experience is very brief, it is enough for those going through it to realize how someone living with dementia every day of their lives can become depressed and disheartened.
While some people with dementia may exhibit signs of depression, it is also quite common in later life.
Understandably with the number of major changes in older adults such as losing a loved one, leaving a home of many years or becoming incapacitated in some way, will cause sadness and grief. While this is natural and expected, grief that doesn’t go away, lasting for months, is not normal and may need professional help to deal with some of the symptoms. Understanding the causes of depression will lead to better management of depression and with the right support, treatment, and self-help strategies a person can feel better and live a more vibrant and fulfilled life.
MmLearn.org has two videos which will give you additional information on this sensitive subject. MmLearn.org provides FREE online training and education for caregivers of older adults.
Back To Top
Valenzuela is a Director at Morningside Ministries in San Antonio, Texas