YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – What if you woke up one day with no idea where you were or who was around you? This is their daily life for millions of people living with Dementia around the world.
Dementia is a growing illness that affects the memories of millions of men and women.
“The first memories that they had the latent go out. I know they're gonna remember things from their childhood to the end. They will remember their grandchildren, or their children. My mom did, "said Tina Mauerman.
Mauerman's mother suffered from Dementia, and so did her grandmother and aunt.
"You want to remember who you are, and that's rough, that is rough when they forget," she said.
Joseph Byler is a resident of Shepherd of the Valley. He lives there with his wife who has Dementia.
“I just, I try to take care of her and make sure she's never alone and a few things like that. But as far as helping her get better, I don’t know, ”he said.
The Shepherd of the Valley held at Virtual Dementia Tour. The tour allowed participants to experience the troubles with Dementia deal with every day.
“We began offering the last year tour, so we offered it quarterly to our sites during 2018 and we're doing the same this year. "So, each quarter we are offering it at a different site," said Danielle Procopio, the corporate director of marketing, sales and communications at Shepherd of the Valley.
During the tour, the participant's senses are altered to give us the glimpse of what a person with Dementia may struggle with.
After they put on the gear, they are placed in a dark room with only a strobe light on. Then, the administrator will be able to perform the tasks within seven minutes.
Mauerman participated in the tour for the first time. She was given gloves to wear which made her to feel and pick things up.
"I felt very awkward, like an awkward feeling," she said.
Glasses to darken her view.
"They kind of cause darkness, and you're not sure where everything is in front of you."
Headphones to alter her hearing.
"That sound was frightening, the sounds were, sounded like a constant radio going on in your head."
And special soles were placed in her shoes which made it painful to walk.
"Definitely added an element of, you know, pain walking. "So, when I went to walk around the bed, it was difficult, it hurt," she said.
Mauerman said the tour experience gave her an understanding of her mother and other family members went through.
"What´s funny, is I can remember my folding things like this," Mauerman said as she went through the tour.
"And when it comes to your own mom, that is a hard thing …" she said.
A 2018 study shows that the average cost of living with Dementia in the United States is around $ 800 per month. Many assisted living facilities cost between $ 2,500 and $ 5,700 per month. With the national average being $ 3,600 a month in 2016.
"I had been in healthcare for 15 years, and we are seeing more and more common residents have a diagnosis of Dementia," Procopio said.
The dates and times for the Virtual Dementia Tour can be found here. It is free and open for anyone to participate.