At DSDC we believe every effort to improve quality of life for people living with dementia should be celebrated, no matter how big or small. This project is just one example of many; Lambton House Care Home, based in County Durham in the Northeast of England, undertook a modest renovation on a lounge area to make it as dementia friendly as possible. While this isn’t an accredited project, it shows just what can be done with a small budget and some imagination.
Lambton House management team recognised that there was need and value of creating both stimulating and calming environments for residents. The care home offers TV’s and background music in other larger lounges within the home, but the team wanted to offer residents who enjoy reading or being read to aloud, a smaller, quieter room for reflection and enjoyment of books.
They recognised that reading can stimulate memories, imagination, and inspiration. With many of their residents enjoying listening to poetry, this project aimed to deliver a perfect room to engage in this pastime on a more person-centred level.
Lambton management worked in consultation with the DSDC to take advice on items such as colour, contrast, lighting (natural / artificial) and fixtures. Taking on the advice they were given, Lambton House residents now have a newly renovated quiet lounge in which they can unwind, read a book and relax. The small television lounge has undergone a transformation with newly built book shelving, window seating a new colour scheme that supports people living with dementia. The old large tv screen has been removed and the emphasis is now on creating a sensory area of calm and reflection within the home where residents can enjoy a quieter atmosphere.
Residents were approached for their feedback, and were all very enthusiastic about the changes. Comments included: “It’s very peaceful,” “I love the pictures on the walls,” and “the bookcase is a lovely colour, it looks very grand.” Staff have noted the impact the change has had on residents, with one member of staff commenting: ‘from a personal point of view it was heart-warming to watch residents read and recollect certain things. One resident read a book on local history of Durham City and then started to talk about his memories of the horse and soldier statue in the marketplace. This was absolutely accurate and very perceptive of this particular resident.”
Lambton Registered Manager Marie Grant said: “This is a fantastic addition and improvement to Lambton’s overall environment and gives us further opportunity to facilitate more person-centred care for those residents who wish to have a quieter place in which they can read a book or unwind.”
Katie Wallace, DSDC’s Design Consultant who worked with Lambton House said: “The dedicated team at Lambton House Care Home have gone to great efforts to adopt dementia friendly design principles and have proven that renovation projects can have just as much impact on the individual as a purpose-built development. Design considerations such as the panelled bookcases bring a domestic, recognisable, and welcoming aesthetic to the room and furniture placement has been considered to maximise natural light and enhance staff-resident interaction. Making small progressive changes and adapting to meet the current needs of the residents at Lambton House has increased personal choice, interaction and reminiscence opportunities.”