Nursing students enrolled in Concordia University Wisconsin's gerontological nursing course had an opportunity to experience what it is like to live with dementia through a unique simulation program presented by the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Ozaukee County.

Two dementia care specialists visited the classroom on Monday, Oct. 14. Following a discussion about resources available in Ozaukee County, the students were invited to participate in a dementia simulation exercise designed to help them experience the challenges and frustrations that patients suffering from dementia face on a daily basis.

After some instruction, the students broke into groups of four and were asked to follow confusing tasks under the constraints of modified headphones, sunglasses, and gloves. As is typical in this exercise, they struggled to hear the instructions, forgot a few of the tasks on the list, couldn’t properly navigate their surroundings, and became frustrated.

“When a patient starts having difficulty with cognition there’s so much fear and feelings of loss,” said Associate Professor, Mary Lou Kopp, PhD, “This dementia experience provided our students with an opportunity to truly feel what their patients are going through. Empathy is a huge teacher.”

Caregiver Specialist, Kathy Jeans Glaser explained, “We want to increase our community’s overall awareness and empathy for people with dementia.”

This experience is not limited to nursing students, Glaser and her colleagues work with members of the law enforcement, first respondents, and caregivers, as well.

For more information visit the ADRC of Ozaukee County.




— Lisa Liljegren is vice president of marketing and strategic communications.

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