Walk a mile in their shoes

by | Oct 30, 2022 | Caregiving

It can be challenging to know how to be supportive of someone without knowing what they’re experiencing or feeling. This includes people who have received a dementia diagnosis – and those who love them.

Have you ever heard the expression: “Walk a mile in my shoes”? It is used to increase the understanding of what someone is going through, so compassion and empathy can be developed for them – without judgment of them.

It Can be Difficult to Walk in Their Shoes

It can be difficult to ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of some, especially those with certain diagnoses. This includes those who have been diagnosed with dementia. The person with the diagnosis no longer remembers how to do things they’ve done throughout their lives and may continuously repeat questions, words, actions, and motions. What seems logical to others might not be logical to those diagnosed. How can these symptoms be understood by loved ones and caregivers?

This is why virtual dementia tours have been – and continue to be – developed. By raising awareness and understanding of what the person with the diagnosis is experiencing, others can meet that person where they are in the moment.

Following her experience with a virtual dementia tour, Oasis Senior Living Advisor Emily Blackburn explained: “It was beneficial because I never realized that several conversations/noises are going on in their head at one time.  Also, learning about the dexterity of their fingers and that constant feeling of walking on pins & needles. There was just so much that opened my eyes about what individuals with dementia go through. I’m glad this course was offered to allow me to learn more.”

This is the reason companies, including Second Wind Dreams and The Option Group, developed virtual dementia tours. According to Second Wind Dreams, the tour is: “A window into the world of dementia through evidence-based dementia simulation training that simulates the physical and mental challenges of dementia patients.”

These companies developed a way for those without the diagnosis to ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of someone living with the challenges of dementia.

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