On February 26 local high school students gained valuable insight into resources that the community has to offer families and individuals living with Alzheimers and the services that St. Catharines and Thorold Community Care provides.
Students began their day by completing an Aging and Dementia Simulation, this simulation allowed them to experience the sensations and frustrations that an adult with Alzheimers experiences on a daily basis. Students were given glasses to alter their vision, ear plugs, gloved hands were taped to mimic arthritic joints, and weights were added to one side of the body to simulate the effects of a stroke. After having all these alterations made, students were brought to a room and given a list of tasks to complete. Everyday tasks like folding laundry, changing batteries in electronics, counting change, putting butter on toast and reading instructions all became much more challenging to complete. Students expressed their frustration after the simulation, noting that they were surprised how quickly they became irritated. Students and staff alike gained a new perspective on the difficulties faced by individuals who have arthritis, had strokes, vision and hearing loss.
At Community Care, students were given information about the services the program can offer community members in need. They learned of the clothing and food assistance available and about programs in place to assist with paying rent and utilities. There is a point system in use at Community Care in both the clothing and food rooms. Students were challenged to shop for a family of two for five days worth of food using 25 points. Students quickly caught on and shopped around for the better deals and meals that would make leftovers and stretch their food budget further. Community Care accepts donations of food, hygiene items and clothing all year.
We would like to sincerely thank the Alzheimers Society and Community Care for the insight and learning they provided to our students.