Virtual Dementia Tour offers students rare glimpse into seniors’ challenges


Tasks like folding towels, counting candies in a bowl, matching pairs of socks all sound simple enough, but not for those experiencing dementia.

On the week of November 21, the Virtual Dementia Tour will be returning to Niagara College, offering students from the College’s Recreation Therapy programs – many who will move on to careers working with seniors – a rare opportunity to experience the challenges of dementia first-hand. The educational, interactive program not only spreads awareness of the impact that dementia has on the daily lives seniors, but allows participants – many who plan to work with seniors in the future –to experience it for themselves.

The tour is designed to be very powerful simulation of what it is like to experience dementia, as participants wear a specialized headset, eyeglasses, shoe inserts and gloves as they attempt to perform assigned tasks.

“Many of our students will do placements and/or gain employment in long-term care where a large percentage of residents will have dementia,” said Christine Wilkinson, who became a VDT facilitator for the tour which is offered through the Second Wind Dreams Program and introduced it to her students last year. “This will give them a first-hand understanding of many of the challenges that individuals with dementia experience on a daily basis. This creates empathy, awareness, sensitivity, and some new strategies and ideas for how they can best support people with dementia.”

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Above video is from NC’s Virtual Dementia Tour in December 2015.

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