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Browns Field House, a Dementia-friendly residential care home in Cambridge, recently celebrated the opening of a new sensory room to help residents living with Dementia. The room, which doubles up as a summer house, was opened by two of the home’s residents, Edna Sanders and Margaret Wiseman. Also present were representatives from The Abbeyfield Society, which oversees management of the home.
Sensory rooms create a calming environment where a number of different stimuli can be introduced to help to reinvigorate some of the senses that Dementia can dulls or diminish over time. Those living with Dementia may be wheelchair bound, or have cognitive impairments limiting their ability to explore, thereby reducing the number of environments with which they can interact. They may only touch around 50-60 surfaces per hour, compared to the 500 that an average healthy person will touch. A sensory room serves to increase this average for those living with Dementia, while simultaneously stimulating other senses, helping to alleviate their symptoms.
After cutting the ribbon and exploring the new facility, Margaret said: “It was a pleasure to be part of the opening of the sensory room. It is exciting to see a new project in Browns Field House and I can see myself and other residents enjoying it in the future.” The building will also lend itself as a space for residents to take part in an array of activities such as arts and crafts, singing, seated exercise, indoor herb growing and much more. Edna added, “I just love it, it’s very warm and very relaxing.”
As well as benefiting the home’s residents, the new sensory room also has scope to become available to members of the wider community living with dementia, to facilitate some ‘Namaste care’ and offer respite for carers. Abbeyfield also has a local care at home team that would bring in service users who are otherwise housebound, to reap the benefits of the sensory aspect and provide the opportunity for them to meet new people, helping to tackle social isolation.
The room will also have a positive impact on the home’s staff and family members. A new, calming environment will be an ideal safe space for relatives to take their loved ones for a bit of quality time together to talk, interact or listen to music together. It could help children to settle in more easily to the environment, with access to an omiVista interactive table that has proven a hit with people of all ages. Care staff can enjoy the benefits alongside residents, in an environment that will help them to de-stress during a demanding working day.
The construction of the sensory room was funded by Abbeyfield, which received an anonymous donation of £50,000 earlier this year, with the instruction that it should be used to create a new and vibrant space for residents of Browns Field House to enjoy. The home already had a summer house, but over the years it had become dilapidated and unsafe for use, so the construction of a new one was an obvious way to ensure the funds were allocated correctly.
Care Home Manager Diana Albuquerque said: “It is exciting to have a new project like this being added to Browns Field House. The sensory room will be beneficial for everyone, especially our residents living with Dementia. It will be a versatile space that will provide just what they need and we appreciate the gesture of the person that donated the funds.”