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Caregiver Action Network Brings a New Vision on Alzheimer's to the Hill

By Dakota Heath, Caregiver Action Network

Over the past few weeks, the Caregiver Action Network team has been meeting with staff of the California Delegation to discuss new and groundbreaking empathy-based virtual reality (VR) training for Alzheimer's and dementia. This technology was provided by our partners at Embodied Labs, a California-based immersive training platform that utilizes VR experiences that can enable those providing care to embody the perspectives and conditions of others. To date, CAN has met with almost a dozen members of the California delegation, all with one goal in mind, to bring this training to over 100,000 family caregivers across California.

As the inaugural John Schall Policy & Programs Fellow, from my perspective, it is imperative for members of the California Delegation to play an important role in expanding access to the trainings for their constituents. This work is a part of the CalGrows Innovation Fund, through the California Department of Aging, which is made possible through the federal Older Americans Act.

This was a new process to me, but I feel as if we made amazing progress toward our goal. The meetings were wonderful, and the teams were all very interested in the training demos we showed, to the point that we discussed having a House Staffer training as some had a direct connection to caring for someone with Alzheimer's. We also discussed events that we are planning to have in California so that we can put our boots on the ground to bring this amazing training to more caregivers, and they seemed more than thrilled with the idea, which was extremely refreshing.

However, one of the topics that was the most interesting to me was the discussions on the policy aspect of caregiving in California and how we can utilize these trainings. As someone who has an interest in Public Policy, seeing that we are going to be making an impact and potentially getting different Representatives from California to try the training and discuss with them different opportunities on how we can tackle Alzheimer’s is honestly wonderful. I'm excited to see how the teams from Embodied Labs and Caregiver Action Network can come together to bring some impactful change in how California treats its population of caregivers and the loved ones for whom they are caring.

If you are a resident of California, I strongly urge you to try out this training. It is available for free and can give you a good insight into the mind of an individual who is suffering from this neurodegenerative disease. Whether you are a former, future, or current caregiver, I believe that you can benefit from this training. If interested, you can try out these trainings at the link below. I know this has been impactful for me and will change how I treat and communicate with individuals impacted by Alzheimer's. I'm certain it will be just as impactful for you.

Link to Web Immersive Trainings: