Has your life been touched by dementia? Many of us have seen our loved ones experience it as they age or develop variations of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. But what does it really FEEL like to live with it? And how can we help improve the lives of those living with dementia, along with their caregivers, family members, and friends?

Since Schulman Design focuses on the aging population and those with physical or cognitive challenges, we wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what people living with dementia experience. Recently, we became facilitators for the Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®), a scientifically-proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia using patented sensory tools and instruction. The VDT® was created by P.K. Beville, Ph.D., author and award-winning geriatric psychologist, dementia expert, and founder of Second Wind Dreams, Inc. VDT® helps support the work of Second Wind Dreams®, an international, non-profit organization that changes the perception of aging by fulfilling dreams for elders and offering innovative educational opportunities to caregivers, families, and communities. You can learn more on the Second Wind Dreams website at www.secondwind.org.

During a VDT® experience, Schulman Design facilitators guide small groups through a simulation of what it feels like to have dementia. We outfit you with patented devices that alter your senses while you try to complete common everyday tasks and exercises. The VDT® enables people to experience the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face so they can use the experience to offer better person-centered approaches through healthcare, lifestyle and home design. The result? Quality of life improves for people with dementia, and those around them better understand how to help reduce the number of challenging, every-day life situations.

Dementia is different for everyone, and we can never really know what someone is thinking or feeling when they live with it. That’s what makes it so challenging and, at the same time, fascinating. Since experiencing the VDT®, my designers and I now have a different perspective on seniors’ home design, whether private residences or large, multi-resident facilities. How we consider colours, materials, contrasts, sounds, room setup and building structure have changed. We also found the experience a great way to build a shared understanding and bond as a team.

Schulman Design is excited to offer this innovative educational opportunity for people involved in dementia care management. My team and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience when we went through it, and we learned so much valuable information to inform our designs. If you’re interested in participating in a VDT®, contact us at 403-261-0088 or admin@schulmandesign.com, and we can discuss your specific needs.

Margot