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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With Baby Boomers getting older, the number of Americans over age 65 is increasing each year.
Now, Chatham University is giving physical therapy students the experience of what aging feels like.
In the university’s aging simulation lab, bandages and braces are used to mimic stiff joints, limit motion and create balance problems.
Goggles and colored lenses show students what it’s like to have trouble seeing.
Students also take hearing tests to experience what hearing loss in old age sounds like.
“Most of them really like it, because it’s active learning. They say they will remember it much better,” says Chatham University Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Dr. Michelle Criss.
The lab simulates everyday tasks the elderly can find challenging, like reading cooking instructions and opening medicine.
The idea is that by showing students how the elderly navigate the world, it fosters more understanding caregivers.
“The goal is really more empathy, having a little bit more understanding”, says Criss.