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Dementia Support: Encouraging Relaxation

ExtraCare is talking about the work of ExtraCare’s Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Service, supporting residents living with dementia and related conditions. We talk to one of our dementia support workers, Norma, about how she’s helping residents to relax and improving their well-being.


Norma Duffield, who works at ExtraCare’s Reeve Court Village in St Helens, opened a relaxation room at the Village, and it was a big hit with residents!

As a Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Enabler, Norma works with residents who live with dementia and dementia-related conditions, and said that she felt there was a need for a place people could go when they were not feeling their best. She said: “I get quite a few of my residents coming to see me quite distressed, and I wanted somewhere to take them that wasn’t my office or their apartments.

“It was already a relaxation room, but it wasn’t really being used much. It was used as a bit of a picture house because we had a projector in there, and the chiropodist used to use the room. It’s in a nice quiet area, near the gym and the well-being room, so it seemed perfect.”

So Norma decided to set the room up as a place people could go to really relax. She said: “I put out some candles and did a fair amount, but I wanted to do more and make it a bit extra special. I spoke to Catherine Duffield-Smith in our fundraising team who was able to get us a donation of £2,721 which allowed us to purchase the bubble machine and fibre optic lights.

“We officially launched the room on 5th May 2016, and we’ve had a lot of interest. It all comes back to helping people’s well-being.

“We’ve had people who don’t have dementia or related conditions using the room when they’re not feeling well, and we’ve done some animal therapy in there too. People have told me that they’re getting a great night’s sleep after using it.”

Norma said that the reaction from residents has been brilliant. “One lady, who has had dementia for several years, told me that she felt alive again when she was in there. When you hear something like that, it makes everything worth it!”

The Home Instead Senior Care Bring Joy Foundation funded the room to a cost of £2,721.