Sunday, Nov 23, 2014
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Hospital will host dementia open house Special 'tour' will help caregivers empathize with patients

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BROOKSVILLE - Those who care for and treat people living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia can only imagine what the patients' life is like.

On Saturday, they'll get a chance to experience it firsthand, as Brooksville Regional Hospital hosts an open house for community members, caregivers and health care providers to learn more about the disease.

The main event is the "dementia tour," which gives participants the opportunity to walk in a dementia patients' shoes, said Susan Frimmel, director of marketing. Frimmel said the tour, which simulates the experience of a person living with dementia, takes about eight minutes. During that time they'll perform simple tasks while wearing vision-distorting goggles, and listening to sounds that compromise hearing through earphones. Participants' hands will be bound, and blocks will be placed in their shoes to disrupt their balance.

It is a little scary, until you do this you don't actually realize what it's like aging ... confusion and the things it causes" Frimmel said. "Until you walk a mile in their shoes you don't know what their life is like."

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Frimmel said Bernadette Homan from Arden Courts Memory Care Communities of Largo & Seminole will facilitate the tour, and other aging experts will be on hand to answer questions.

Refreshments and literature on dementia will be available, Frimmel said.

Brooksville Regional launched a pilot program earlier this month that places a purple angel sticker on the wristband and hospital door of every patient who appears to be at risk for dementia or Alzheimer's during their initial assessment. Gary LeBlanc, an Alzheimer's advocate, dreamed up the idea of creating a universal cue for dementia patients in hospitals as a way to better care for patients.

Frimmel said the event on Saturday is open to anyone who has an interest on the topic, and will be especially beneficial for caregivers.

The event will be held on the third floor of Brooksville Regional in the Joint Camp suite. More information is available online at http://brooksvilleregional.net.

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