Futuristic £9m Abbeyfield home takes British dementia care to the next level

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It has been years in the planning. And now older people’s housing and care charity The Abbeyfield Society is preparing to launch its multi-million pound, futuristic dementia home on Thursday 22nd September

The culmination of many years of pioneering work, cutting-edge Abbeyfield Winnersh is set to provide a radical approach to dementia care in line with rigorous research* conducted by Abbeyfield to provide a safe, stimulating and enriching environment for those living with dementia in the UK.

Abbeyfield Winnersh’s 60 bedrooms – all leading onto an outdoor space – are arranged in six, circular clusters of ten ‘households’ providing a more intimate, homely feel.

As well as their own front door with number, key and letter box, each of the 60 residents will have their own ‘window’ next to their front door – a memory box holding instantly recognisable, personal items to assist people to identify their own front door.

The design of these ‘windows’ – along with the front doors – creates a street scene with adjustable lighting to help residents recognise night and day.

People living with dementia benefit from higher levels of light to help prevent difficulties with sleeping. Disruptions in sleep patterns can lead to confusion in daily routines, decreased alertness, low mood which can lead to depression.

winnersh-garden-view-1To help residents make the distinction between night and day, staff will wear pyjamas at night time. LED lighting is used as standard throughout Abbeyfield Winnersh due to its brighter qualities which mimic natural daylight more so than regular light bulbs.

Research into sympathetic lighting has shown that it can help to reduce the progression of some dementia related symptoms, slowing deterioration by as much as 5% through resetting the natural body clock. Brighter daytime lighting has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms by up to 19% amongst people with dementia.

Bathing can be challenging for people with dementia. While each bedroom has its own en suite wet room, there are several bathrooms among the building including a ‘calm’ bathroom which avoid clinical materials and lighting as well as spa bathrooms, with music and uplifting or relaxing ambiance lightings to make bathing a pleasurable experience once again.

Specialist interior designers selected furniture and soft furnishings that can reduce anxiety for residents living with dementia with calming colours and textures chosen to stimulate the senses and promote reminiscent memories.

Residents will be free to safely explore the whole of Abbeyfield Winnersh 24-hours a day – an unheard of practice in many dementia homes. There are no codes on the lifts and food will be available to residents 24-hours a day to keep residents relaxed at all times.

As well as its trailblazing design, Abbeyfield Winnersh boasts a cinema room complete with popcorn machine, a hairdressing salon, raised allotment beds and herb gardens to keep residents stimulated and active.

Looking after visiting family members is a key part of Abbeyfield Winnersh’s design. There are tearooms, a children’s playground and an extensive range of activities for families to enjoy with parents or grandparents living at Winnersh.

Natasha Singarayer, Chief Executive of the Abbeyfield Society, said: “Abbeyfield’s innovative new facility at Winnersh has been carefully planned to provide a unique approach to dementia care. Abbeyfield’s experience means we understand that the combined careful design of physical and social environments positively supports people with dementia.

“We have worked with pioneering specialist architects, interior designers and landscape gardeners to ensure residents living with dementia have a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. The Winnersh project has been designed to include highly innovative communal facilities that promote friendship, alongside vast well-designed gardens.”

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