If you love someone with dementia, you know how simple tasks can be difficult.  Buttoning a shirt, tackling a household chore or playing a game can cause frustration, confusion and agitation.

Now imagine an emergency situation, and the challenges these differences could cause when a person with dementia needs help from first responders.

To help first responders better understand the needs of people with dementia, The Arbor Company offered a free training program to about 600 Cobb County, Ga., first responders, the first-ever dementia training for the department. Participants underwent a seven-minute “Dementia Live™” interactive experience – donning sense-restricting gloves, glasses and headphones and then attempting tasks such as folding a shirt, organizing silverware, and playing Solitaire.

Dementia Live™ is an innovative program designed by a team of dementia, sensitivity and awareness, and professional development experts from the nationally recognized AGE-u-cate® Training Institute headquartered in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

“It was very eye-opening and very frustrating to see what those dementia patients go through,” said Kevin Gross, Cobb County’s deputy fire chief. “We’re making this mandatory for our whole department to go through this, so our firefighters are going to be better educated. And when we go on these calls within Cobb County, we’ll be able to better serve the patients that are suffering from dementia.”

Prior to the training, Gross added, it was easy to get frustrated with patients who seemed uncooperative, but now he and others in the department know the cause behind the actions.

The program also provided 30 minutes of additional education and discussion.

At The Arbor Company, we’re committed to sharing our experience with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia to make the communities that we work and live in safer and more friendly to all seniors. We partner with local governments, first responders, and other businesses to provide experiences like Dementia Live™. If you’re interested in working with us, contact your nearest Arbor Company community.

Check out this additional coverage of Dementia Live in Cobb County:

  • Watch State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-East Cobb, whose 100-year-old father suffers from dementia


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