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Free virtual-reality lab helps people experience dementia


What does it feel like to have Alzheimer’s disease? Thanks to virtual reality, people can get a taste of what it’s like to have the condition at Clark Lindsey Village this winter.

“Urbana Park District is proud to host this free event,” said Jacob Johnston, Age-Friendly Resource Coordinator. “We will be using virtual reality to help educate people about what it’s like to experience Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is a great tool for people who have a friend or loved one with Alzheimer’s,” Johnston added.

The free program begins Wednesday, January 8, and runs each Wednesday through March 25. The program is at Clark Lindsey Village and runs from 3 – 4:30 p.m.

“Everyone age 18 and up is welcome,” Johnston added.

People will use virtual reality equipment. They will experience what it is like to relax in the park with family, take a shopping trip, host a Thanksgiving dinner and more, while experiencing Alzheimer’s disease.

“After each simulation, we will have a group discussion with instructors and other community members,” Johnston said. “The goal is for people to understand dementia better and give people more knowledge to help support people they know with Alzheimer’s.”

People don’t need any prior virtual reality or computer experience to participate.

The event is free, but people need to register so instructors know how many to prepare for.

Call (217) 367-1544 to register for the program.

“Dementia touches all of us. The better we can understand Alzheimer’s, the better prepared we are to help our friends and loved ones,” Johnston said.

“If you are caring for someone with dementia, this program is an absolute must,” Johnston concluded.


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