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Agency Using Tour to Raise Awareness

CEDAR RAPIDS, CBS2/FOX28)--A local senior assistance agency is doing something different to raise awareness about a life changing disease.

It's a simulation created to teach people about the challenges of those suffering from Alzheimers and other Dementias.

Alzheimers disease affects 12 percent of seniors in Iowa. That's 62,000 people in the state.

Nationwide, more than five million people suffer from the disease.

The virtual Dementia Tour is meant to create a better understanding and hopefully better care for patients.

Amanda and Jess discovered that their mother was suffering from Alzheimers eight years ago.

"She wanted to fight. She was very aware of what was happening through all this. That she knew she was getting sick. She knew there was a problem, said Amanda Pins.

The sisters say dealing with their mom's memory loss had its tough days.

"You almost think that you can like reteach them. Like they forgot or something, said Jess Novotny.

"Because you do have those moments of losing your patience or you know getting frustrated with the situation, Amanda said.

Those feelings are what "Right at Home of Cedar Rapids" wants to change through the Virtual Dementia Tour.

"Basically what it is it creates an experience for caregivers to help them understand or help create the awareness of what one may feel like who has dementia or Alzheimer's, said owner Renee Riffey.

During the tour participants are asked to perform a series of tasks while wearing items that imitate symptoms of the disease.

"Whether it's arthritis, whether it's diabetes, limited vision, limited hearing and so far, everyone that has taken the tour has now gained a better understanding of what it might feel like, Riffey said.

"It gives you a little bit of guilt too that you always want to do better, said Jess.

Do better for their mom who's now is in the final stages of Alzheimers, but they say no illness can erase her true character.

"She would do anything for anyone so that's why we try to do so much for her."

Right at home plans to continue the training throughout the year.

There's also an Alzheimers Association walk to raise awareness on September 27.

Below is a link to Right at Home http://www.rightathome.net/cedar-rapids/ and http://act.alz.org/site/PageServer?pagename=walk_homepage
 
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