Denmead care home's Christmas sensory room reignites festive memories for residents with dementia

CARE home bosses hope to reignite glorious memories of Christmas for their residents, including those with dementia, after opening up a festive-themed room with a sensory area.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 9:10 am
Updated Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 3:24 pm

Cascading bubbles, LED snowflakes and scents of cinnamon, spiced berries and gingerbread all combine for the feat at Wellington Vale.

Bosses at the Denmead site say the project took 'four months’ to plan, with residents unknowingly enlisted to assist with the embellishments.

Since summer they have helped build a ‘giant’ igloo and lace-wrap fragranced bags of acorns, but only learned why when the room was unveiled.

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From left, Wellington Vale residents Ian Harding, 87, Jill Harding, 79, activities coordinator Breda O’Doherty and Jean Rutherford, 89 in the care home's Christmas sensory room.

It is hoped the space can help residents with dementia use their senses to reminisce, with a chilled temperature, candles and trees also included.

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Breda O’Doherty, Wellington Vale’s activities coordinator, said: ‘I wanted the room to be show-stopping and inclusive for all residents so I ensured that a sensory area was incorporated.

‘It took seven hours for myself, Jay Harris, activity assistant and Karina Goddard, senior carer to dress the room and months of planning.

From left, Wellington Vale residents Ian Harding, 87, Jean Rutherford, 89, Jill Harding, 79 and activities coordinator Breda O’Doherty in the care home's Christmas sensory room.

‘I am thrilled by the response and how much the residents enjoy the feeling of Christmas coming to life for them.’

One duo left particularly impressed by the festive spectacle are husband-and-wife residents Jill and Ian Harding.

Jill, 79, said the room ‘is like being inside Christmas’, while Ian, 87, added: ‘[It’s] absolutely enchanting, like walking into a fairy land.’

The room was designed to draw on the charm of C S Lewis’ tale The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and also features figures of animals.

Loved ones of the residents at Wellington Vale are being invited visit the room throughout December.

Sue Hill, general manager at Wellington Vale, said: ‘We always strive to make the difference in our residents’ lives, which includes focusing on activities that are fun and good for their social and physical wellbeing.

‘Our Christmas-themed sensory room is truly magical and is a fantastic example of how innovative and imaginative our team at Wellington Vale is.’

The room also features gentle piano music and a tasting area, where residents can enjoy festive snacks from Turkish delight to christmas cake.