Not everyone who forgets where they left their keys or why they went into the bedroom has dementia. It is when your decline in cognitive abilities interferes with your daily life that you have to worry, and at that point, it is your family and friends who have to worry not you. According to 2010 figures from the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org), there are 1,233,164 unpaid dementia caregivers and 480,000 people with dementia in California.
To help family, friends, and health professionals who care for people with dementia better understand this loss of cognitive ability, whether caused by Alzheimer’s or another disease, Pacific Gardens Assisted Senior Living Community—an 80-apartment facility with 30 apartments designated for memory support—is hosting a dementia reality tour January 27. During the 35-minute tour, caregivers will live the life of a dementia patient, experiencing the anger and frustration of being unable to accomplish even simple daily tasks.
Sixty to eighty percent of all dementia cases are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, named after the German doctor who first described it. Researchers continue to seek ways to diagnose and predict Alzheimer’s, prevent its onset, and slow its progression, but it is usually incurable.
The free dementia tours, which begin every 20 minutes from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, are conducted by Immersion Reality Education (www.dementiatour.com). It is the first time this type of tour has been offered in the Silicon Valley area.
Call Pacific Gardens, 2384 Pacific Drive, Santa Clara, at 408/985-5252 to reserve a time slot to take the tour that will let you personally experience the world of dementia and become a more compassionate caregiver. The tours are co-sponsored by a number of local care and service providers.