Riverview Manor hoping Snoezelen room will further decrease psychotropic usage

Riverview Manor life enrichment aide Lyndsay Irwin is seen here in the Peterborough long-term care home’s Snoezelen room.

Riverview Manor life enrichment aide Lyndsay Irwin is seen here in the Peterborough long-term care home’s Snoezelen room.

Sensory room is already helping residents affected by dementia

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Staff members at Riverview Manor are hoping the Peterborough long-term care home’s Snoezelen room will help further reduce the use of psychotropic medications for residents affected by dementia.

Built earlier this year, the Snoezelen room, which contains a variety of sensory objects to provide sensory stimulation, will also be hosting a program that will help reduce the effects of sundowning, a phenomenon that occurs during sunsets when some people with dementia become increasingly agitated.

So far, the Snoezelen room has had positive results for residents living with dementia, says life enrichment aide (LEA) Lyndsay Irwin.

“Sometimes people just need that quiet spot, that little oasis for people to get away to, so it has been really helpful for that,” she tells The OMNIway. “Anyone can use it. We keep the door open to make it an inviting atmosphere, and the lights are always on so residents are drawn to it.”

Irwin says the Snoezelen room has been especially beneficial to people who are experiencing agitation. When residents become agitated, they can be guided to the Snoezelen room, Inside, there are items like the bubble light tube, a tall, narrow sensory stimulation lamp filled with liquid with bubbles. The lamp changes colour when buttons are pushed.

The Snoezelen room also has fibre-optic strings with LED lights that change colours. The strings have some weight to them, which provide a sense of security for people with dementia when handling them, Irwin says.

“(The Snoezelen room) has been great for when people have behaviours, and we have used it for that, when we need to get people to a quiet area,” she tells The OMNIway.

“This has been really helpful for people with dementia. Studies have come out (showing the benefits) of Snoezelen rooms. People can interact with their environment; everything is touchable and interactive.”

Riverview Manor is also considering bringing aroma therapy and a music therapy program to the Snoezelen room.

“We are going to try as much as we can in this room,” Irwin says. “This is definitely a place for us to explore and use our creativity.”

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