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Virtual Tour Helps Give Insight Into Dementia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Millions of families are living with the devastation of dementia. This weekend there's a walk to end Alzheimer's. And there was a special virtual tour to help people understand what dementia feels like.

Geared up to feel what it's like to have dementia with distortion goggles, headphones and over-sized gloves was Mickey Weisman, whose husband has Alzheimer's. She was momentarily able to walk in his shoes, as the gear also includes prickly shoe inserts.

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It only lasts a couple of minutes and it's intense.

The goal of the virtual dementia tour at Holy Redeemer Health System is to give caregivers and loved ones a chance to experience what dementia feels like.

"I didn't understand, couldn't believe that's what a patient would be going through," Mickey said.

Her husband of 65 years has been lost to Alzheimer's for 9 years and he's unable to speak now.

"It's very difficult watching his slow decline," Mickey said.

After going through the tour, she thinks he must be frightened.

Alzheimer's affects the brain by causing confusion, memory loss and eventually, physical limitations.

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"I think when you know what someone else is going through, take those steps and experience just like what we have with the dementia tour today, it really makes you feel for them and understand everything their going through," Stephanie Messler, who works in the LifeCare department at Holy Redeemer, said.

The dementia tour is helping promote the annual walk to end Alzheimer's this coming Saturday morning at Citizens Bank Way.

Alzheimer's Association can be reached at 1-800-272-3900.

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