Sensory room helps residents with Dementia

09 March 2015

3005 views comments • Tagged as Activities Care Dementia Our Residents

Nora is one of Duart's residents who benefits from using the Sensory Room

Hastings Leader, Hawkes Bay


Duart resident Nora is 94 years old and suffers from dementia. She has been at Duart rest home and hospital in Havelock North for three years, in hospital-level care.


Nora can speak but becomes muddled with words and sentences. Over the past few years she has become more confused and agitated and less likely to participate in activities as her dementia progresses.


Diane Green, Duart's diversional therapist began taking Nora into the newly-developed-sensory room at Duart and says her face lights up and a big smile appears. Nora becomes visibly more relaxed and focused on her surroundings. She also enjoys holding tactile objects, part of the sensory room experience and Nora's daughter-in-law knitted a "fiddle toy" for Nora which she loves. Fiddle toys are popular with residents who have dementia - providing them with pleasurable tactile experience and giving  them something to do with their hands. Nora's family also noticed changes to her while she was in the room, saying she is definitely more alert and engaged. Nora's daughter Bev visits her mum every day and is delighted that the new sensory room at Duart helps to provide her mum with some lovely moments.


Aged care has changed dramatically over the years and we are always looking for new ways to engage, stimulate and connect with each resident, says Diane.


Sometimes it's the little things that really make a difference to their quality of life. The sensory room is a new initiative at several Oceania Healthcare facilities that combines light, gentle movement, music and tactile objects to stimulate or calm residents. Duart's rest home and hospital residents and their families can visit the sensory room whenever they wish. The resident doesn't have to have dementia to benefit from spending time in the room. Often family members like to come in and take their mum or dad into the sensory room for something new and different to do while visiting.


As dementia advances some people withdraw from everyday life while others become more easily agitated. Family members may find that conversations, if any, are disjointed and difficult to follow. The sensory room has a calming affect on some people, while it seems to wake others up.


"We see results varying from reduced need for anti-anxiety medication through to residents conversing better and taking more interest in eating. It's early days at Duart but the results we're seeing are very encouraging," Diane says.


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0800 333 688

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