Public library to host dementia virtual tour

Published 1:11 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Over 50 million worldwide are diagnosed with dementia.

As the numbers grow, Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc., is giving the families, caregivers and medical professionals the opportunity to walk in affected individuals’ shoes.

The Northeast Tennessee regional office of the organization will host a virtual dementia tour on Tuesday, July 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. inside the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library as a way to raise awareness for those affected with dementia-related illnesses, including Alzheimer’s.

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According to information provided by Regional Director Tracey Kendall, the program was designed in 1997 by P.K. Beville as an experimental tool to learn more about the diseases.

“I went through the tour myself after having three family members diagnosed,” Wilson said in a release issued to the Elizabethton Star. “I was better able to understand what someone diagnosed with dementia may feel like. The experience makes it easier for others to understand what an average day is like, along with its challenges. It can also make it easier to communicate with persons living with dementia.”

Tuesday’s tour, which will be led by Wilson, is available by registration with the library. Individuals can call (423) 547-6360 to sign up. During the tour, participants will be provided with clothing and accessories that are designed to simulate the way it is to live with dementia and assigned various day-to-day tasks.

Having the tour available is a key way of raising awareness to the public, according to Maryann Owen. Owen, who serves as the adult services coordinator at the library, helped organize the event after a recent SALT Council meeting. SALT is a program that allows law enforcement to work alongside the senior population of the community.

“I learned about the program through the SALT Council,” Owen said. “Seeing how important it could be for our community, I contacted Tracey and that’s how we got this tour going. So many people in our community have these types of issues and it’s important to learn what people are going through so we can better serve the area.”

ECCPL has branched out in being more than just being a place for books over the years. A growth of community-service programs and reaching out to the public has turned the library into being more of an overall hub for different activities and projects in Elizabethton and Carter County.

Prior to the tour, the library will be hosting a job fair and career coaching session on Thursday, July 12. Owen added a career coach will be on site from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to provide information for residents seeking employment. The coach will provide advice, resume assistance and move residents toward various employers looking to bulk up their workforce.

Visit the library’s Facebook page online or stop by during regular business hours to learn about the different activities going on during the month of July.