"I felt choked up and ready to cry from the emotional impact it had on me. With all my years of experience, I found that I really had no concept of what they actually go through."
These words were spoken by a long-time Israeli professional in the eldercare field after experiencing something called VDT or Virtual Dementia Tourâ„¢. VDTâ„¢ was developed by PK Beville, founder of Second Wind Dreams (www.secondwind.org), an organization dedicated to changing the perception of aging. People caring for those with dementia who go through the scientifically proven tour and training come away with important insights about how to provide better care. Only when you personally experience the overwhelming feeling of confusion and physical helplessness that comes with the tour can you understand the best ways to care for those struggling with dementia and growing old.
When PK called to tell us that there was someone in Israel who was interested in bringing VDT to that country we were excited and agreed to become involved. Having gone on the "tour" ourselves several years ago, we could attest to its power and how it could have a very positive effect on family and professionals caring for dementia patients. We were soon in touch with Zissie Gitel, formerly from St. Louis, and now living in Israel. It was Zissie’s own experiences caring for elderly parents as well as her work advocating on behalf of patients and caregivers that directed her to PK’s ground-breaking efforts.
We met Zissie on one of her trips to the States and were impressed with her understanding and compassion, as well as her desire to change the status quo for eldercare in Israel. She outlined her plans for In Their Shoes, her Israeli non-profit, and now has presented the tour to many hospitals, nursing homes and others involved in eldercare.
We are excited about our involvement in this fledgling organization and look forward to working with them as they grow and "change the perception of aging" in Israel. Our funds were used to purchase basic audio-visual equipment for their presentations as well as for work on their eventual English-language web site.