Donning yellow-tinted goggles, beaded shoe inserts, thick gloves, and headphones spitting out a variety of noises, Nancy Cedar attempted to navigate through basic tasks - not as a fashion statement, but as part of a new program designed to help loved ones understand the crippling effects of dementia.
The new "virtual tour of dementia" was developed by the Homme Home, an elderly care center in Wausau, Wis., and Cedar decided to give it a try because her mother suffers from a form of the disease.
Suddenly the well-lit room seemed dim, and seemingly simple tasks like setting the table or folding clothes became a challenge. It was just a test for Cedar, but it's her mother's everyday life.
Among the tasks set before her, Cedar was supposed to write a note to her family. "I got into that room," Cedar recalled, "and I didn't know what I needed to do. It was very, very unsettling."
With this new perspective on her mother's disease, Cedar says, "It made me realize I need to be a better guide, and I need to anticipate more things than I do now."
Program leaders say that's exactly the point.