As a person’s journey through a dementia progresses, it can sometimes be a challenge to understand them. The person may have forgotten certain words, muddle up their sentences, or may say an entire different word to the one they were meaning to say. There is nothing a person living with dementia can do to prevent this.
One of the hardest things for a relative or friend of someone living with dementia is to learn to accept that they now have a different reality. It can be especially hard when a person does not remember who you are, or wishes to find their mother who has died long ago. The key for families and friends to deal with persons living with dementia is to learn to respond to the feelings behind a person’s words and to find a care home where staff has been trained to know this.
The Memory Support Unit at Simblija is designed to provide a safe and comfortable, home-like environment for the residents. It is situated on the ground floor providing easy access to the surrounding grounds and garden that affords free but safe wandering through a monitoring system in a dedicated area.
The dementia unit consists of a beautiful and tranquil dining room and lounge which enjoys a lot of natural light coming from the spacious terrace. This area has been specifically finished to create an atmosphere that is typical of former times and is aimed at encouraging interaction and communication.
Wayfinding has been made simple through the use of special signage with pictures and labels that help to direct the person to the different areas. Continuous lighting guides the residents to the common bathrooms. The quiet areas also provide the individual with the opportunity to find alone space when required.
The flatlets can be easily located since each room has an individual showcase where the residents are encouraged to display favourite memorabilia. The home-like front doors are also identifiable through the residents’ names and room numbers which are clearly visible on the door.
The twin rooms offer a comfortable and spacious layout which includes 2 separate beds, individual vanity tables and chairs, wardrobes and chest of drawers. All furniture is labelled with pictures for each occupant to help with location of clothing, personal items, food and crockery.
The contrasting colour of the duvet assists the residents to identify their bed. The room also includes a reading area with comfortable armchairs as well as a kitchenette with table and chairs.
The fully adapted bathroom provides the equipment that is required to ensure safety and encourage independence. Special care has been taken in the selection of contrasting grab rails, toilet seats, shower chairs as well as light switches that make it easy for the residents to operate.
The water heating system is thermostatically controlled to avoid any injury and other safety features like non-slip flooring and an alarm call system have been included.
Round the clock care is provided as necessary by trained carers who assist the residents according to their individual needs in self-care activities, in preparation of a light snack when required, shopping from the village supermarket or finding the way to the salon, hairdresser, piano bar and gardens.
Of course the residents are engaged in meaningful activities in a structured routine to ensure that they do not retreat into isolation. All this provides the relatives of the persons with dementia the assurance and peace of mind that their loved ones are well cared for and can continue to enjoy a meaningful life.