Feeding the senses

research reveals how sensory rooms for people with learning disabilities could prove therapeutic for people with dementia

Sensory rooms similar to those used by adults and children with physical or learning disabilities could also prove therapeutic for patients with dementia, new research claims.

Dr Anke Jakob, from London's Kingston University; and Dr Lesley Collier, from the University of Southampton, have published a new guide entitled How to make a sensory room for people living with dementia1 as part of the Inside Out Festival, which showcases the contribution universities make to London’s cultural life.

Our approach emphasises the benefits of addressing all the senses to support residents diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia in a care home environment

The advice states: “Traditionally, sensory rooms have been geared more towards younger adults and children with physical or learning disabilities. However, our approach emphasises the benefits of addressing all the senses to support residents diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia in a care home environment."

The design advice includes creating a mix of sensory spaces within a home or hospital, including outdoor areas. These should be non-institutional and stimulating, yet comfortable, with an appropriate use of colour and fixtures and fittings.

The guide has sections covering design issues, including the use of textiles, fabrics and soft materials; appropriate lighting; contact with nature; accessibility; furniture and furnishings; stimulation; the use of colour; and the use of technology.

There are also top tips on how to get started developing a sensory room, what size they should be, where they should be located; and how to do it on a small budget.

Reference:

1 Click here

The report looks at the impact of sensory rooms on people with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

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