Roseville firefighters are taking part in a unique training opportunity. Working with a local senior housing community, the firefighters are receiving training to experience what it is like to live with dementia.
Participants wear goggles to blur vision, gloves to limit ability to tackle fine motor skills tasks, and earphones to distract with noises. They also have seeds put in their shoes to replicate neuropathy. Participants are then given a series of tasks, including sorting pills, making a bed, peeling an orange, putting on a shirt and other chores, to complete in a given order.Developed by Ebenezer Care Center, the exercise gives firefighters a better understanding of how to interact with a person with dementia. Firefighters noted the need to give only one or two tasks at a time and to be very specific when helping with a person with dementia.Assistant Fire Chief David Brosnahan was one of the first firefighters to complete the training. “Being an emergency medical technician is so much more than having certain lifesaving skills. It is critical for us to be compassionate and empathetic to the patients we come into contact with. This training allows us a better opportunity to see, feel and understand what some of our patients are experiencing when they live with dementia, which in turn allows us the opportunity to be better and more compassionate responders,” said Brosnahan.