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Inside the world of Alzheimer's Disease

Inside Alzheimer's Disease

AMMON, Idaho - The Alzheimer's Association hosted the "Alzheimer's Longest Day" giving the public an opportunity to experience what it's like to live with the disease.

Friday lunch with the ladies for Lily Maxfield is about laughing through the hard times caring for her husband.

"Before my husband passed away he had dementia,' said Maxfield.

Today she got to experience what his life was like.

"You put these swim goggles on, there's spots blacked out."

In the presentation room many people shared their story. Annette Cowly's grandparents and her mother had Alzhemer's.

"When I was dealing with my mom I had to go into her world, i had to be in her world in order to communicate with her," said Cowly.

The disease progresses slowly, but today living inside the world of Alzheimer's was as easy as putting on a few props and trying to complete simple tests.

Tests were conducted inside traditional apartment-style rooms. Special pads were given to participants to simulate arthritis and make it more difficult to walk.

Goggles are worn to simulate vision loss, and headphones are put on which play sounds and conversations.

Participants are scored on scale of one through six. Most people are only able to complete two of the six tests.

"I hunted all over for this sweater and it was no where to be found. I looked by the closet by the door and that was a hot water heater," said Maxfield.

No tally of points can add up to the empathy that was felt after going inside the world of dementia for just a few minutes.

"I know now why I had to help him so much," said Maxfield.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's yet, but with a little humour, Maxfield has her own idea of prevention.

"I realize we got to do those exercises," Maxfield said laughing, and added "If we're going to take care of us," she said.

The latest statistics for Alzheimer's show it is the sixth leading cause of death in the county and one in three seniors will develop Alzheimers.

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