How Do You Feel?
by Sheila Ohstrom,
President of Senior Home Care Solutions and Alzheimer’s Solutions
As PAC™ Certified Independent Trainers, it is our job to make people feel how a person living with dementia would feel. It is imperative when we are training to be sure that the audience gets it because they are the ones who are interacting with PLwD. How do you accomplish this when we work with all different types of learners? We do this by give out a party pack that includes a Mardi Gras mask with the eyes taped off into scuba and binocular vision, a spoon, and a workbook. We utilize the masks to replicate a visual sensory impairment so they can experience the vision changes as it pertains to approach, eating, and several other activities.
We can certainly all tell and explain to our audiences about the brain change and the effects of a narrower field of vision, but that doesn’t have the same impact as experiencing it. We ask our audience to put on a mask we have made – scuba or binocular. We use these masks when we are approaching so that they can feel the way a PLwD would feel. We often sneak up on individuals in the audience to really put it into perspective. This is when people have the aha moments, “I never knew that” or “Now I know why Mary hits me when I approach her from the front.” Then we discuss a time that they can all think of when they may have caused a similar feeling or behavior in a PLwD that they have helped. In addition, we take it a step further by having them put on the masks and try to do several hands-on examples. We have them utilize the rudder technique, a PAC approach, to eat, as well as try to get dressed, all while simulating a vision impairment.
As you all continue to train and spread the message of Teepa Snow, remember….” How does it feel?”
Sheila Ohstrom, President of Senior Home Care Solutions and Alzheimer’s Solutions in Syracuse, NY. PAC™ Certified Independent Trainer, Consultant, Engagement Specialist, and Pending PAC Certified Independent Coach.