Thompson Health employees get a glimpse of life with dementia

How would you feel if everyone around you spoke in a language you didn’t understand? That is what life is like for people with advancing stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a disease of the brain that robs a person of many abilities including using and understanding language.

Last week, employees of UR Medicine’s Thompson Health learned more about Alzheimer’s and how to care for people living with it. Exercises during a one-hour workshop provided a window into what that world is like.

“It’s about empathy, building compassion,” said Liz Marsh, education counselor with the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester and Finger Lakes Region. She talked candidly about the difficulties caregivers encounter — how frustrating it can be.

Nationwide, about 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

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