To help prepare first responders for this possibility, the staff at Barrington Terrace of Naples, an assisted living and memory care community in East Naples, will provide training for some 350 Collier County EMS staff and firefighters in October.
The training will include the Virtual Dementia Tour, which simulates the experiences of people with dementia. Participants don goggles, which reduce the vision, and headphones, which simulate the perception of multi-sensory bombardment. Each person is led into a dim room and given a handful of simple tasks to complete, such as folding towels or drawing a picture.
The training will also provide tips for first responders on how to best approach a person with dementia, physically and on an interpersonal level. Most people with dementia exhibit symptoms other than simple forgetfulness, because the disease affects parts of the brain that handle attention and impulse control. People with dementia may behave inappropriately or with hostility, especially in stressful situations. They may have difficulty communicating clearly. Someone who is unaware of the diagnosis could mistakenly assume the person is intoxicated.
For more information, contact EMS Chief Tabatha Butcher at (239) 252-3740.