November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. A local group whose mission is making the public aware of the challenges of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease is rolling out new equipment to educate people.
It’s called the Virtual Dementia Tour.
Brandi Medina, with the Mid-South Alzheimer's Association, says the tour "helps you understand why you see some of the behaviors that you see with those diagnosed."
Bill Talley is aware of the challenges. He works with The Regency Retirement Village. He welcomes the help the Mid-South Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association brings with the tour.
Talley says the tour, "More than just a different sense of what they're going through, it gives you compassion to understand."
The tour has tools that help someone without Alzheimer's disease learn what it is like to suffer from it. Gloves that block motor skills, pads for shoes to simulate sensitivity, and headphones that blare noise to simulate what the patients deal with daily, hourly, or even by the minute. You are given tasks to perform and then left alone.
WHNT News 19’s Beth Jett tried the tour. Due to the noise, she couldn’t hear the questions, and she wasn’t allowed to ask for more information.
She says she felt alone and confused until her friend came back for her.
Medina says it’s a dramatic gut punch of a test.
“When you think Alzheimer's, you think memory loss, but there are an awful lot of other symptoms involved. It's usually communication, navigation, balance, judgment, so it affects every part of your daily life.”
If you want more information, you can call 1-800-272-3900. That is the 24/7 assistance line for the Alzheimer’s Association. The Huntsville chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is located at 117-A Longwood Dr. Southeast, Huntsville, AL, 35801.