Early Stages of Dementia
The 'Green Lounge' has a traditional homely feel, very similiar to most elderly peoples lounge at home. Most people who choose to sit in this room enjoy watching television without too much distraction. Most afternoons the people in this room choose a film to watch. There is also a good stock of books, board games, etc. It is the quietest and most formal of our communal rooms.
Middle Stages of Dementia
The 'Middle Lounge' as we call it, is where most of the activities/stimulation occurs. If you want to just chat or 'hang out' with the staff team this is the room to be in, but if you are looking for some peace and quiet you will soon find this room is not for you. Off this room is therapy corner filled with all sorts of soft pets and dolls, we find that a few of the people living in the home, the items in this area, helps to reduce their stress level or helps when they find their mind is orientating to a much clearer time in their past. The staff teams study area is in the next room along; so it is the hub of the house and where all the staff team gravitate too. We do not tend to put on television programmes on in this room as most of people who choose this room, are now no longer able to follow the television for any length of time, but we do play appropriate DVD's such as 'Sound of Music', 'My fair Lady', Norman Wisdom films, Dancing on Ice, etc., that go down really well. In this room we have a kitchenette with a sink, dishwasher and fridge, we also have a help yourself snack bar with healthy snacks and drink available all the time. We consistently bring out all sorts of 'stuff' from the activities cubes and encourage the people in this room to be part of running of the home; from washing up to folding laundry, dusting, etc we find this kind of stimulation very good at helping people to feel worthy especially as the staff team are very generous with their compliments.
Later Stages of Dementia.
The Conservatory is designed to be visually stimulating and is full of items to visually look at, we also have some light therapy and sensory items available. In this room we deliberately do not have a television on, but play on the DVD sensory pictures such as fish tanks or rain forest pictures with calming music. The staff team bring out lots of the items from the activity cubes and spread these around which are rotated several times a day. In this room most of the chairs are specialist chairs with pressure relief, tilt to various angles and they are on wheels to reduce the level of transfers with the hoists (to reduce stress levels), these chairs are all acessable to all the ground floor rooms. This room is designed to be particularly peaceful. Although this room is designed for people living in their later/advanced stages of dementia some people enjoy the peace and quiet of this room or use this room if they wish to read.
Some people choose a room and stay in that room for most of the day, but most people change and gravitate to different rooms for different reasons. Some people who may be enjoying music in the conservatory may then appreciate more a DVD playing the film 'Oliver' and move to the middle lounge. Some of the people in the green lounge may be watching a black and white War film, but then suddenly appreciate more 'Some Mothers do Have Em' film, or the live music being played by the various visiting singers that we regularly arrange several times a week. People may gravitate towards some arts and crafts and some surprisingly just feel the need to help do something they have been doing all their life – washing up!
As part of the training in Relationship Dementia Care through Surrey University, I am trained to observe, monitor and record the level of quality of life within the home. I am proud to say that we have extremely low levels of sleep and boredom throughout the day and very high levels of independent stimulation and social communications, including laughter and affection. Compared to the national averages we as a home offer exceptional standards of relationship care. As an example latest scores for sleep plus boredom levels in our sister home equated to 16% of day, the national average is 70%. We believe by matching the communal rooms to stages of living with a dementia and the staff team's camaraderie and positive enthusiasm for their chosen role in life, has been a significant part of achieving these excellent outcomes.