Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function due to certain diseases that affect the brain. The losses are substantial. Over time, dementia will lead to loss of memory, loss of reasoning and judgment, personality/behavioral changes, and physical decline. Around 75% of U.S. dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, the Milwaukee County Department on Aging dedicated their time in creating a series of training videos that help educate healthcare professionals and caregivers about how to effectively interact with patients who have this diagnosis.
The videos below are three of six, in the series. They show how a person diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimers views their environment around them. The videos depict how these patients may view a routine doctor visit, an emergency room visit, and how they see first responders being called to their home in an emergency. Obviously, these types of situations may already be stressful for a healthy individual, let alone an individual who is struggling with the symptoms of dementia. The storyboard was deliberate in it’s message; with the first portion of each of the videos portraying how a caregivers lack of understanding the disease/how a dementia patient views their environment can ultimately have an adverse effect on both caregiver and patient, in these already stressful situations. The striking contrast is in the second portion of each video, showing how an educated caregiver properly and effectively handles communicating with a dementia patient. The videos were purposely filmed with a “patient point of view” in mind. The out of focus in-camera filming emulate how a dementia and or Alzheimer patient may perceive the world around them. In a lot of dementia cases, their vision and perception of their environment is distorted. The videos were very post production driven; using sound effects such as a sirens, increased volume, and optical blurring effects help drive the message home.
After watching even one video in this series; it’s impossible not to have an increased awareness, heightened sensitivity and overall compassion towards anyone (patient or caregiver) who is living day to day with this this disease.
The Milwaukee County Department on Aging was created in 1991 to provide a single point of access to services for people aged 60 and over. Their agency affirms the dignity and value of older adults in Milwaukee by supporting their choices for living in and giving to our community. Their ultimate vision is that all Milwaukee County elders will have the resources to live as independently as possible in their communities.