Hats help dementia-sufferers remember the past

Deputy manager at Falstone Court, Bijumon Joseph, with the quality assurance manager Margaret Roe and home manager Alan Massingham in the new sensory room which has just been officially opened for residents.
Deputy manager at Falstone Court, Bijumon Joseph, with the quality assurance manager Margaret Roe and home manager Alan Massingham in the new sensory room which has just been officially opened for residents.
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A CARE home celebrated a landmark day with the opening of a sensory room which has been a year in the making.

Staff at Falstone Care Home in Roker, Sunderland, said it would improve the quality of care, with the smells, lighting, touch and sounds generated by the room to stimulate the minds of its residents and aid relaxation.

Deputy manager Bijumon Joseph said: “I raised more than £1,000 towards the cost by shaving off my moustache.

“In total, it cost around £3,000 for the equipment and to set up.

“It has a jumbo UV bamboo with fibre-optic strands, voice response dome, diffraction tube roller, rainbow slinky, light diffraction totem pole, a water feature and projector with different discs.”

The room at the seafront home, which has a specialist dementia unit, features a selection of hats to help residents reminisce about the past and respond to the feel of the different materials.

Falstone Care Home manager Allana Massingham said: “It is a clever idea as most of the residents would have worn a hat when they were younger, as it was the fashion at the time.

“The whole team and residents have done a lot of work towards the room. I feel quite emotional to see it all come together today.

“The residents are our life here, and everything we do is for them.”

She added: “I came to work here in July and feel privileged to have been a part of the improvements that owners HCOne have put in place.

“When I first started, the sensory room was just empty, and we have worked hard to turn it around.”

Margaret Roe, quality assurance manager, said: “It is quite unique to our home, and the residents love it.

“They have helped with the opening and are excited about today. I think all the staff are too.”

Sunderland councillors Julia Jackson, Barry Curren and Steve Bonallie who represent St Peter’s ward, also attended the opening.

Coun Jackson said “This room is an achievement which is going to have a huge impact on the lives of the residents.

“The lighting, sounds and smells are brilliant, and you can tell it will be well used.

“It is also great to see that the residents have been involved in every part of its development, including the opening, too.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull