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Dementia demo meant to increase awareness, understanding

Posted: 5:42 AM, Oct 26, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-26 14:22:17Z

A five-minute experience is allowing people to understand what it's like to live with dementia. 

Participants are "most often frustrated, they have anxiety," said Dan Harrah, Administrator of the Silverado Scottsdale Memory Care assisted living home. 

Silverado hosts Virtual Dementia Tour events every month across the Valley, following a program created by non-profit Second Wind Dreams. Participants receive glasses that reduce vision, modified gels that provide a "pins and needles" sensation in their shoes and headphones that produce a white-noise effect. They are then taken into a demo room and instructed to carry out five tasks, like putting on a sweater and writing a letter, in five minutes. 

"A lot of families with loved ones (who have dementia) -- they don't understand the disease," Harrah said. 

Quarterly events are also held with first responders across the Valley. 

The Alzheimer's Association estimates 130,000 people 65 years and older are living with Alzheimer's in Arizona, but communications director Katie Skvarce said it's not just about age. 

"I've come across and met, personally, a lot of people with the disease that are 50 to 52 (years old)," she said. 

Another Virtual Dementia Tour event will be held November 29th from 1 to 4 p.m. at Silverado Scottsdale, located at 9410 E. Thunderbird Rd. You can reserve a 15-minute time slot by calling 480-614-9100 or emailing Kim at kschier@silverado.com. 

On November 11th, the Phoenix Walk to End Alzheimer's will be held at Wesley Bolin Plaza. Visit PhoenixAlzheimersWalk.org for more information and to register.