Event helps employees understand experiences of elders with dementia

Signature HealthCARE (SHC) at The Courtyard recently held its first annual Learning Congress.

The event was designed to help employees better understand the challenges that elders with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia face. SHC at The Courtyard is one of 72 nursing communities operated by Louisville, Kentucky-based Signature HealthCARE.

Employees completed a number of tasks during the event. Some were given goggles to limit their vision and put on gloves to simulate the difficulty some patients have with tactile awareness and fine motor capability. Other activities involved putting corn kernels in employees’ shoes (to simulate the experience of having corns, bunions and spurs) and having them wear headphones that played loud, distracting noises to simulate hearing loss and difficulties with hearing aids.

Staff were then asked to complete simple tasks, such as putting on clothing or writing a letter. Many employees were unable to complete the tasks.

“This event served as a reminder to all of us at SHC at The Courtyard of the difficulties many of our residents face on daily basis,” said Annette Jansenius, administrator at the home. “These activities encourage continued compassion and understanding toward our elders.”