By Pamela Mills MA, CTRS, CADDCT  
Dementia Specialist / Educator / Care Manager

The Option Group is now offering the Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®).

Second Wind Dreams®, an organization whose mission it is to change the perception of aging has developed a ground-breaking, evidence-based, and scientifically proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia.  The Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®) is a tool to help professional and family caregivers better understand the needs of people living with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.

The Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®) uses patented sensory tools and instruction, based on research conducted by P.K. Beville, M.S., a specialist in geriatrics and the founder of Second Wind Dreams®.  During a Virtual Dementia Tour® experience, trained facilitators guide participants outfitted with patented devices that alter their senses while they try to complete common everyday tasks and exercises. The Tour enables participants to experience the physical and mental challenges that people living with dementia face and use the experience to build sensitivity and awareness.  Overall, the Virtual Dementia Tour® can influence the adoption of best practices, leading to better person-centered care.  

The Virtual Dementia Tour® is not a computer-based tour. It is a dementia simulation that was created to teach people the physical and mental challenges of those living with dementia.  Learning to create a positive environment for those with dementia can only come from attempting to walk in their shoes. The VDT® offers hope to caregivers, providing tips and tools necessary to create an environment that supports the needs of those who are living with the disease.

The Value of a Virtual Dementia Tour

Empathy experiences such as the Virtual Dementia Tour® can be beneficial to professional caregivers and family members of a person living with dementia.  The knowledge gained lets a person to temporarily step into the shoes and minds of a person living with dementia.  The result intends for a family or professional caregiver to have more patience and perspective about what they may ask or expect a person living with dementia to understand or accomplish day to day, ultimately resulting in better support for the person overall.

Influencing empathy among care providers leads to better care practices.  According to Pam Brandon is the President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute, “the “AHA” moment is HUGE when a care partner can feel the frustrations, anxiety, fear, helplessness, and aloneness that living with dementia often perpetuates.  This opens a care partner’s eyes, thus propelling them to draw on this innate sense of empathy.” 

When care partners, including professionals, receive empathy training it “becomes a strong foundational tool to build on critical skills that empower [people], leading to practices that can help a person to live well with dementia. 

The Virtual Dementia Tour® can enhance the following vital skills:

  • The ability to perceive a deeper understanding of a person’s reality.
  • Potentially freeing oneself from critical judgments by recognition of the person’s experience.
  • Experiencing the challenge of holding on to information or instructions while in a state of diminished focus.
  • Gaining an inside-out viewpoint of living with dementia.

To Register

The Option Group hosts the Virtual Dementia Tour® at their Hunt Valley office each Tuesday throughout 2021.  This experience is concluded with an hour-long debrief, where participants share their experiences and learn how to best apply the interactions felt.

To schedule a Virtual Dementia Tour® for your team (minimum of 3, maximum of 6), go to Virtual Dementia Tour.    

If you or someone you care about needs additional support to help cope, The Option Group is here to help. Please contact our professional care management team for assistance.

About The Option Group: Founded in 2010, The Option Group’s compassionate team of experienced Certified Life Care Managers serves families, their loved ones, medical professionals, and professional family advisors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The firm understands the challenges of caring for an individual who needs assistance due to aging, dementia, disability, or serious illness. Their skilled providers possess over 100 years of combined experience navigating the healthcare maze and accessing hundreds of quality resources. The Option Group helps families spend quality time with their loved ones, providing clear choices that lead to better care. For more information, visit www.theoptiongroup.net or call 410-667-0266 (MD) or 717-287-9900 / 610-885-8899 (PA) / or 302-858-6449 (DE).