Delicious aromas fill the air. Soft, soothing music is playing.
Pictures of water are projected on the wall. Blankets and pillows create a comforting place to sit or lie down.
Welcome to Snoezelen – the sensory stimulation room at Fairview Manor.
Used by the 19 residents of Forever Friends – the Manor’s unit for residents with dementia – as well as other Manor residents, the room is designed to gently stimulate the senses of sight, hearing, touch and smell through the use of lighting effects and slide shows, music, different surfaces and aromatherapy.
Residents who are agitated often find the room very calming. For others, the various sensations stimulate their speech and memory or make them more alert.
Besides the sensory stimulation room, Forever Friends residents enjoy a range of activities, including monthly picnics and birthday parties, baking, tea parties, movies and daily sing-along and stretching sessions.
Each resident also has a memory board, which includes old photos, the names of family members and a list of favourite activities.
Snoezelen was developed in the 1970s by two Dutch therapists treating patients with sensory, learning and mental health issues. The term Snoezelen comes from the Dutch word “snuffelen” –to seek out or explore – and “doezelen –to relax. Designed to stimulate the senses without the need for intellectual activity, Snoezelen is frequently used by people of all ages who have mild to severe disabilities such as learning problems, sensory impairments, Autism, developmental or emotional disabilities and dementia.
At Fairview Manor, the sensory stimulation room includes lighting effects, such as columns of moving bubbles, and long, cable-like strands of lights that change colours.
A slide projector in the room displays scenes of water, clouds, a forest or bright shapes and CDs play soothing nature sounds or relaxing music.
Scents such as vanilla, lavender or baking aromas are used in the room to relax residents or evoke memories.
The sensory stimulation room will have dedicated space in the new long-term care facility being built as part of the Almonte General Hospital – Fairview Manor Redevelopment Project. The new facility will also have a dementia garden, which will permit residents with dementia to enjoy the outdoors in a secure setting.