Kowhainui Home sensory room provides calm space

Kowhainui Home team leader diversional therapy Frances Craven in the home’s sensory room.


There is a small, unassuming room inside Enliven’s Kowhainui Home that can provide the perfect sensory environment for a resident.

The Whanganui home’s sensory room has softened lighting, a couple of chairs and many items with different textures to provide a tactile experience, explains Kowhainui Home team leader diversional therapy Frances Craven.

“This room is designed to develop a person’s senses, usually through lighting, music, scent and tactile objects.

“It can be used as therapy for those with limited communication skills. A resident can spend about thirty minutes in here with a family member or one of our staff – it depends how they feel when they go in.”

Kowhainui Home manager Trish Boswell says a group of staff volunteered to create the sensory room after attending a dementia care resident-centred education workshop called Walking in Another’s Shoes.

The workshop was run by Olive Redfern, a dementia educator, via the Whanganui District Health Board.

“We received a generous donation from a family member that assisted with the specific supplies for the room.

“Working with Olive Redfern, the staff worked on planning and creating the space, including choosing a paint colour and painting the room.”

Frances says sensory rooms have been used successfully in Europe for many years.

“They can help to reduce agitation and aggression, decrease wandering and restlessness, and can improve a residents’ interaction with family, staff and other residents.”

Enliven’s Kowhainui Home and Villages in Otamatea offer independent retirement living, rest home and hospital level care, as well as short-term respite, health recovery care and an engaging day programme. For more information call the friendly team on 06 349 1400 or visit www.enlivencentral.org.nz.


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