UTEP opens Virtual Dementia Tour to public

Laura Acosta

University of Texas at El Paso

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and UTEP’s School of Nursing and the Alzheimer’s Association are inviting the public to participate in a free Virtual Dementia Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, in UTEP’s Simulation Center on the first floor of the new Health Sciences and Nursing Building on Wiggins Road.

The tour is an opportunity for the public to experience what it is like to be an elderly person afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Caregivers of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are encouraged to attend to gain a better understanding of the struggles that their patients or loved ones face daily.

Using a hands-on, experiential toolkit, participants will wear various items that simulate mental and physical challenges, such as goggles that distort their vision. Participants also will listen to an MP3 player that loops loud environmental noises to confuse them about their surroundings and simulate a mental disorder. Once outfitted, participants will be instructed to perform everyday tasks such as folding towels, filling a cup halfway with water and drinking it, clearing a table and putting on a necktie.

The 20-minute tour is on a walk-in basis and will take place in the center’s apartment-style setting that includes bedroom furniture, a kitchen and bathroom.Information: Charon Pierson, director of the Center for Aging at UTEP, at 915-747-8297 or Susana Vargas, Alzheimer’s Association’s program director, at 915-544-1799 or email Susana.vargas@alz.org

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