I tested for you: to slip into the shoes of an 80-year-old
On the occasion of the Seniors fair in Paris, the Adhap group, a specialist in home care that accompanies vulnerable people to help them in their daily lives, to make known to the general public a combination a bit special.
Once put on, it plunges us into the skin of an octogenarian, with its limits, its fragilities and its disabilities. "Until then, this combination was a training and awareness tool for teams"explains Damien Cacaret, president of the Adhap network. The equipment is present in the 187 Adhap centers in France and in some hospitals for professionals. Making it available at the Salon des aîenes also shows the general public the loss of autonomy of the elderly. "It's a benevolent experience that also has a playful side", estimates Damien Cacaret.
Equipped to the tips of your fingers
The president of Adhap reports that he himself tried the combination. He warns me that it's enough "Disrupting" and especially "exhausting". I jump the step. You have to go through several steps: first wear protections on the legs, arms and back for accentuate the rigidity of my body, then fix weights at the wrists and ankles, and put on the rings at the knuckles for reproduce the linked stiffness to osteoarthritis. At this point, I thank the combination for not making me feel the physical pain associated with this disease that affects the joints.
I am already well equipped: I am struggling to bend my arms and legs. Clenching fists becomes almost impossible. "The 80-year-olds do not feel all these effects systematically, it's a simulation. Some older participants even came to try the combination and realized that they had a much better physical condition ", says Damien Cacaret.
A very small field of view
To this equipment is added a helmet that diminishes my hearing. I have to concentrate to hear the voices of the people around me. While I already have the feeling of being in another body, I am fixed a pair of glasses on the nose. Its effect reproduces the cataract. It is an opacification of the lens mainly related to aging. It causes a gradual and irreversible decline in vision. My visual field is very small and my senses are completely upset. I grope in this accoutrement. I can not help hunching my back. Fortunately, a cane allows me to take one step in front of the other.
Every gesture is a difficulty
First test: I am asked to sit on a chair. This innocuous action with my physical condition as a young woman becomes difficult. After bending my legs in slow motion, taking care to aim the chair and do not finish the four irons in the air, I sit and more breathless than ever. I feel like I can never get up again. I am challenged to have a drink of water. After several failures, I grabbed the cup and managed to take a sip. Successful mission.
When you take off the suit, I cherish my body to be still so fit, and I quickly realize that I've had the whole test screaming because of the hearing loss. Then I think back to my grandparents: I promise to pay more attention to them the next time I see them.
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