A New Approach to Dementia Care

Kaye’s Place  

 Northwood will soon feature an innovative new space to enhance the care of residents experiencing the impacts of dementia, a rising issue in our aging population. With $300,000 raised through fund-raising, a home-like setting within the walls of Northwood’s Halifax Campus will be completed within a year. This place, named after a current resident, will provide people living on special care units with respite from the over stimulation of common living areas.  Families will also benefit from this therapeutic initiative, allowing them to engage more meaningfully with their loved ones in a private setting.

Gail Giffin, an Occupational Therapist and the Manager of Restorative Care at Northwood says that “when residents walk into Kaye’s Place, we want them to feel like they are walking into someone’s living room”, with comfortable seating, pleasant lighting and interesting things to see and touch. . In addition to the main room the area will also feature a quiet space and a storage room. There will be coffee and tea available, as well as occasional, soothing music.  The initial design for these nostalgic, reminiscence area rooms has been completed and the project will involve the renovation of existing space on the main floor of the Centre.  Kaye’s Place is part of a larger dementia strategy for Northwood, a facility where the number of special care floors has increased from the three to five in a fairly short period.

Kaye’s Place has several objectives which reflect the interdepartmental collaboration of staff at Northwood. Professional development of staff and student interns will be enhanced through this person centred care approach, which celebrates the individual and fosters more positive interrelationships.

Memory boxes, sensory stimulation, sorting and focused resident engagement activities are planned for Kaye’s Place, which will operate without any increase in current staffing. The multisensory room is a place where staff and families can engage with residents. Scheduled family times will be one of the beneficial features of the setting and family members will be able to access the activity boxes as they spend quality time with the residents.

Kaye’s Place is a best-practice approach in special care management. Gail Giffin is confident that this multi-sensory, private space will help us “focus on the use of retained abilities of the person, what they can do, their interests and skills, providing purpose and meaning in congruence with their abilities.