Innovative New Tools for Dementia Care

By PSS | Posted: Tuesday December 12, 2017

For many elderly people, dementia is a reality of life. 

While it can happen to anyone, as you age the chances of developing dementia increase. 

Dementia is an umbrella term used when a person experiences a gradual loss of brain functions, due to conditions that change and damage our brains. Its impact varies among individuals, but it can cause major changes to the brain structure, resulting in memory loss or issues with language, attention, problem solving, planning and organising and judgement. 

While it is prevalent, it can be hard to talk about it and even harder to cope with it. 

It can be daunting, scary and hard to come to terms with for both the individual and their families, as your loved one changes. 

But it is important to know that you are not alone. Help is out there in many forms and, should you need it, full-time specialised dementia care is available locally. 

Enliven Southland specialises in dementia care, offering rest home dementia care at Resthaven Village in Gore, and rest home and hospital level care at Peacehaven Village, as well as operating a secure unit – Iona – at Peacehaven. 

Front of mind for our staff is the resident and we are consistently looking for new ways to enhance the wellbeing of any resident living with dementia. 

In 2017 some creative new tools have been introduced at Iona that are having hugely positive benefits. 

One of these is PARO – an interactive robotic seal that mimics a real baby harp seal. It is highly responsive to human senses and is able to interact with residents and the environment. 

Studies have proven that interaction with PARO has psychological benefits to people with dementia and at Iona – the dementia wing of Peacehaven Village – its potential is already being seen. 

One resident, who didn’t really speak, started to stroke the seal and talk, talk, talk once it was placed on her knee; smiling and laughing even when it was given to someone else. Another lady who was usually quite reserved and would sit with hands clasped, moved her hands, stroked him, smiled and looked at him. 

Peacehaven has also introduced a sensory room where residents can safely explore their senses. It features soft lighting, which has a calming effect, the sounds of rainfall or a forest, and has a projector set up to simulate any number of situations such as the image and crackle of an open fire. 

The approach Enliven takes is about putting the person with dementia at the heart of everything they do and, while there is presently no known cure for dementia, it is about consistently looking for ways to enhance their lives. 

Dementia can be complicated, and the fear of the unknown in terms of behavioural change is often the scariest part for families. 

Enliven staff support families as well as residents with this, as we know how hard it can be, particularly in the early stages, to see a loved one changing so dramatically. 

We are absolutely committed to creating new ways to enhance their lives, and this is an ongoing commitment for us. 

Click here to find out more about dementia care at Peacehaven Village  (Invercargill) or here to find out more about dementia care at Resthaven Village (Gore).