With World Alzheimer’s Day being celebrated on 21 September, it’s fitting that Rand Aid’s Thembalami Care Centre has just installed Snoezelen multi-sensory equipment to create a relaxing space for its residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s and those who require counselling.
Thembalami’s manager Esme van der Walt says the equipment was installed in a dedicated room at the care centre to create a relaxing space that helps to reduce agitation and anxiety, engage and delight residents and encourage communication.
The Snoezelen philosophy and concept was originally developed in the 1970s in the Netherlands and has been used all over the world to help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and other limiting conditions.
Studies have shown that the use of such multi-sensory equipment can have a positive effect on behaviour, mood, communication and functionality. The equipment will also be therapeutic for staff, as it improves their relationships with residents and increases job satisfaction.
One year in the making, Thembalami’s Snoezelen room was made possible by former Rand Aid Inyoni Creek resident Sully O’Sullivan, who left money to the care centre in his will, and donations from the Inyoni Angels, a group of Inyoni Creek residents who consistently support the care centre.
Sully’s sons, David and Gerald, as well as other Thembalami donors attended the official opening.
“David shared that his eldest son is autistic and makes use of a Snoezelen room at school and that his father would be proud that his generous donation to Thembalami was used in this way,” says Esme.
All the guests got to engage with and experience the equipment in the room, which stimulates the senses with coloured lights, soothing music, calming aromas, interesting textures and gentle movement.
“The room will also be used for residents and their family members who require counselling, as it is a calming, private space,” says Esme.