by Tim Rowan, Editor Emeritus

“This [virtual dementia] tour opened my eyes to the reality of what a dementia patient lives with every day. It is completely different when you walk in their shoes. I highly recommend this program for caregivers.” 
“I can’t tell you how the dementia tour workshop has impacted my daily journey with my husband. He is 64 and suffers from a combination of Lewy Body and Frontal Temporal Dementia. We have been navigating this as a family for 7 years. I thought I understood his struggle, but the virtual tour has opened my eyes completely. It was a very emotional experience for me. You have changed our lives.”
“Thanks to this training, I will be a better caregiver starting today!”

These are a few of the comments from caregivers and family members who were trained by the Hospice of Marion County (HMC) in Ocala, Florida. HMC offers training based on research conducted by P.K. Beville, geriatric specialist and founder of Second Wind Dreams®. Second Wind is an international organization offering services to caregivers. Known as “The Virtual Dementia Tour,” the training is a patented, evidence-based, scientific method of building a greater understanding of dementia for clinicians, caregivers, and family members.

Virtual Dimentia Tour

Virtual Dementia Tour

Trained facilitators outfit trainees with patented devices that alter their senses. They then guide participants while they try to complete common everyday tasks and exercises. The Virtual Dementia Tour enables caregivers to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face. This experience helps to provide better person-centered care.

HMC began The Virtual Dementia Tour in 2020 following an endowment from the widower of an Alzheimer’s patient who had been under MCH care. Named after his late wife, the Nancy Renyhart Dementia Education Program offers trainings through the hospice. The training is not only for hospice patient families and care teams, but to others who request it.

Meet the Team

DJ Ryan, Dementia Education RN, is certified by Second Wind Dreams as a Certified Dementia Practitioner. He has been with HMC since 2015 and provides trainings at the hospice offices and in the community. Chief Medical Officer Mery J. Lossada is dual certified in neurology and psychiatry. She has been with HMC since 2007. She works with local police, EMS providers, the department of Children and Family Services, and mental health providers to coordinate healthcare services to the community, including dementia patients and their families.

In its first three and a half years, the Nancy Renyhart Dementia Education Program has provided dementia education to 9,968 people. This number includes 926 first responders and 482 caregivers who have gone through the Virtual Dementia Tour® in the last two years. It also includes 2,026 healthcare professionals and first responders who have gone through the Tour since the inception of the program in January, 2021. 6,534 people have attended 167 dementia presentations. HMC provides all these services at no charge to the individuals or their employers.

Dr. Lossada told us, “We are a non-profit organization, and we have identified the three most common diagnoses leading to admission to hospice care: cardiological, pulmonary, and dementia. We have a specific program for each one of those disorders, each one intended to improve quality of life for the patient and the caregiver. We have seen that these dementia disorders are causing the most distress. Our training program helps with that.”


Nurse DJ Ryan said the reduction in hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and transfers to residential memory care facilities is impossible to translate into a mere financial advantage. He is more familiar with the impact of the training on individuals and families. “In the case of Lewy Body Dementia, which includes hallucinations, we have seen people believe they were being watched, attacked, or had bad guys coming in through the heating vents. One person called 911 475 times one year. Once we get involved with our part of the task force, we get them the resources that they need and get them connected with support to reduce those 911 calls. And the numbers are astounding.”

Ryan told us he has been receiving calls from all over the country inquiring about participating in or duplicating his training program. This interest comes without having engaged in any promotional efforts outside of the HMC web site. DJ can be reached via the HMC web site,

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Tim Rowan, Editor Emeritus

Tim Rowan is a 30-year home care technology consultant who co-founded and served as Editor and principal writer of this publication for 25 years. He continues to occasionally contribute news and analysis articles under The Rowan Report’s new ownership. He also continues to work part-time as a Home Care recruiting and retention consultant. More information: or

©2024 by The Rowan Report, Peoria, AZ. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Healthcare at Home: The Rowan Report. One copy may be printed for personal use: further reproduction by permission only.