Partridge House

Amesbury Police and Fire Departments Partner With Genesis Healthcare to Develop Dementia Experience Training

Amesbury Police and Fire Departments Partner With Genesis Healthcare to Develop Dementia Experience Training

AMESBURY, MA - May 18, 2022 - Amesbury Police and Fire Departments today announced the kick off of both of their national appreciation weeks by partnering with Genesis HealthCare to develop a program emphasizing support for citizens living at home with dementia.

On Monday, May 17th, Chief Craig Bailey and Chief Ken Berkenbush participated in dementia experience training to better understand what it feels like to have dementia.  Both went through several simulations which included managing a week’s worth of prescription medications, navigating a banking website and other various tasks. While it may sound simple, the chiefs attempted these tasks in full dementia simulation mode. With their finger joints wrapped in tape to simulate a decrease in range of motion and their hands double gloved to simulate a lack of sense of touch. The chiefs were given instructions with their hearing and sight obstructed. To add further distractions, loud white noise was played throughout the training and bags of popcorn kernels were placed in their shoes to mimic a decrease in balance and perception. 

The chiefs offered to work with Genesis HealthCare as “pilot locations” in order to create a hands-on dementia simulation education program. Genesis HealthCare, whose end goal is to create national Dementia Experience training opportunities, has placed its emphasis on first responders for good reason. “This specific group of professionals are in and out of the homes of local seniors. They witness how vulnerable those living with dementia truly are on a regular basis,” said Sarah Kearney, Executive Director of Partridge House Assisted Living, which is affiliated with Genesis HealthCare, and a member of the Board of Directors for The Council on Aging in Amesbury. “Creating an education program to better support police and fire departments as they answer calls to assist people with dementia was a logical step.” 

According to Chief Bailey, this training is in line with the Amesbury Police Department’s mission statement: to encourage community confidence through trust, inspiration and empathy. “Trust and empathy are key components when police officers are working with citizens who have dementia,” Bailey said.

Chief Berkenbush added that he is excited to participate in the creation of this program as it provides valuable practice for his crews. “This dementia experience is very powerful as it allows us to walk in the shoes of those living with memory loss,” Berkenbush said. Simulation training is an effective method for training EMS professionals.”

This training is being offered to the Amesbury police and fire departments free of charge so that taxpayers are not impacted. Once developed and finalized, Genesis HealthCare will look to have dementia educators provide complimentary training to police and fire departments in many areas across the country.

About Genesis HealthCare
Genesis HealthCare is a holding company with subsidiaries that, on a combined basis, comprise one of the nation's largest post-acute care companies, providing services to more than 250 skilled nursing facilities and assisted/senior living communities in 22 states nationwide. Genesis subsidiaries also supply rehabilitation therapy to approximately 1,100 healthcare providers in 43 states, and the District of Columbia. References made in this release to "Genesis," "the Company," "we," "us" and "our" refer to Genesis HealthCare and each of its wholly-owned companies. Visit our website at

Media Contact: Lori Mayer  610-283-4995