Event Offers Caregivers, Health Care Providers Opportunity to Experience Symptoms of Dementia

By Jon Parham

“The Alzheimer’s/Dementia Experience: Take a Walk in Their Shoes” will be held 9 a.m. to noon at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, located at 629 Jack Stephens Drive. The experience takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Call 501-526-6500 or email rahoward@uams.edu to make an appointment.

The event will simulate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, including loss of hearing, vision, sensory nerves, fine motor skills and onset of arthritis and neuropathy. The goal of the event is to increase awareness of the physical challenges and sensory disorders common in persons with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia so that caregivers and health care providers can become more empathetic with those individuals.  This will thus enable them to provide care and living environments that are more sensitive and suitable for these individuals.

This program is sponsored by the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), the Health Resources and Services Administration-funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program. The AGEC improves the quality of care for older adults through education by offering programs for health professionals, first responders, family caregivers and direct care workers.

The UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging serves the needs of an aging generation with the highest standards of research and care. It was established through a 1997 gift of $28.8 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and expanded through a 2009 foundation gift of $33.4 million. Within the institute is the Arkansas Aging Initiative (AAI), created from part of Arkansas’ share of the Master Tobacco Settlement to improve the health of older Arkansans through interdisciplinary clinical care and innovative education programs, and to influence state and national health policy. The AAI created seven Centers on Aging throughout the state to provide senior adults access to quality care within a 60-mile drive from their homes. These centers offer the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program so older adults might have more opportunities to remain at home.