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Home simulates what it's like to live with dementia

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

More than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, but University of Northern Iowa gerontology Professor Elaine Eshbaugh says this number is likely an underestimate.

Eshbaugh works to create better communities for people who have one of the many forms of dementia and one way she does this is by simulating the symptoms of dementia — memory loss, difficulty understanding, and repeating questions, to name a few — at the Dementia Simulation House.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe travels to Cedar Falls to experience the dementia simulation in an unassuming ranch home, styled intentionally to feel like your grandparents' house where she completes ordinary chores with some added hurdles.


  • Elaine Eshbaugh, professor of gerontology, University of Northern Iowa
  • Sammy Heyer, student associate
  • Paul Pease, student associate
  • Carly Spies, student associate
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.