Alzheimer’s awareness events to take place this weekend

Hospice of Homer is providing a weekend of events for community awareness and support for people experiencing various levels of dementia and for their caregivers.

Debbie Chulick, education specialist with Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska, will guide people through a Virtual Dementia Tour at the Homer Senior Center on Thursday morning and in Pioneer Hall at the Kachemak Bay Campus on Saturday.

The 20-minute guided tour creates a sensory experience to provide participants an opportunity to see and feel the physical conditions of Alzheimer’s disease, Morgan Laffert, volunteer coordinator with Hospice of Homer, said.

A flyer provided by Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska describes the tour as a way to help identify with and understand behaviors and needs of people living with dementia. It simulates the experience of dementia by altering physical and visual sensations with gloves, glasses and shoe inserts. The product, provided by an organization called Second Wind Dreams, describes the experience as “a window into their world.”

For the Homer event, two participants will be guided through tour at a time and registration is required in advance.

“I don’t want to give up too much of the tour before people try it but I was able to experience the tour about two years ago and in hindsight I realized I had a very narrow view of dementia,” Laffert said.

“I just thought dementia was a memory disease and when you do the tour you realize how much more there is to the experience that we don’t know about. It really heightened my compassion for both patients and their caregivers.”

Chulick will also host a community event discussing the different stages, changes and expectations for someone diagnosed with dementia. This will take place during a break in the dementia tours on Saturday.

Chulick has visited Homer from Anchorage twice a year for the past four years to facilitate Alzheimer’s awareness resources in the community, Laffert said.

Other events in the community include hospice volunteer and caregiver trainings and a caregiver support group.

There will also be a film screening of “You’re looking at me like I live here but I don’t” and “Ex memoria” at the Homer Family Theater on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m.

To register for the Virtual Dementia Tour during the community session at Kachemak Bay Campus call Hospice of Homer at 907-399-6899 or email them at A memory screening or consultation appointment can also be scheduled through those contacts.