Murrieta police officers undergo what it's like to have dementia, other memory loss diseases

MURRIETA, Calif. (KABC) -- Dementia is a disease that robs sufferers of their memories and eventually their lives. So to better understand the disease, a captain and two officers with Murrieta Police underwent training to get up to speed on how to best help those with the disease in their community.

"We often get calls for people with Alzheimer's or dementia that are lost or that have wandered away from home," Capt. Rob Firmes said. "Once we find them then interacting with them this is where this will come in play and be really good."

The officers donned gloves to impair their hand mobility, special glasses to simulate macular degeneration, a headset filled with confusing noise, and lastly uncomfortable shoe inserts.

"You put them in with the spikes up. It simulates the feeling of neuropathy in their feet. So, the pins and needles feeling," said Jodi Cornman, with Vineyard Place.

The memory care facility offers dementia virtual tours to help first responders, caregivers and the public better understand the symptoms of dementia.

Once the specialized clothing is on, they are led to a dimly lit room and asked to perform simple tasks. They fold towels, set a table, open a pill bottle, and count out change - tasks they soon discover aren't easily accomplished.

"There was so much going on you really had to sit there and focus to do simple tasks. It was definitely a different feeling going in then how I feel coming out," Officer Chad Staat said.

"I wasn't able to see in the room. I wasn't able to see what was the difference between a spoon or a fork," Officer Jennifer Metoyer said.

The eye opening experience gives a brief glimpse into the reality of someone living with dementia and memory loss diseases.

If you are interested in a tour contact Vineyard Place at (951) 387-6855.
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