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Virtual Dementia Experience

Situation: Dementia is one of the fastest growing diseases in the United States. Approximately 140,000 Virginians suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia and that number is expected to grow 35% by 2025. Commonwealth Senior Living wanted to highlight this statistic and to provide medical professionals, first-responders, family caregivers, and interested individuals an opportunity to learn and gain a better understanding for the challenges those with dementia face. Commonwealth partnered Second Wind Dreams to offer its Virtual Dementia Program at all 21 of its senior living communities in Virginia. 

Results: Gray Ryan Communications worked closely with Commonwealth Senior Living to develop a strategic media relations and social media campaign outlining this effort. The biggest challenge was to communicate the experience of the Virtual Dementia Tour to reporters. Gray Ryan leveraged its media contacts across the state to invite them to a special program where they could go through the Tour. We also arranged for them to speak with Commonwealth’s in-house experts about what they learned and how it translates to those with dementia.    

The first placement was on the front page of The Virginian-Pilot resulting in over 150 citizens contacting the community for the opportunity to participate in the Tour. Over the course of the campaign, Gray Ryan secured over 50 earned media placements about Commonwealth Senior Living and the Virtual Dementia Tours. Over 1,800 Virginians participated in the Tours, many of whom shared their experiences with neighbors, friends, family members, and with their elected representatives. From fire department personnel to EMTs, Commonwealth received incredibly positive feedback from the first responder community who all commented that they have a greater understanding for the care of individuals with dementia. This understanding directly impacts how care is provided to those with dementia.  

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