Summerset has opened an award-winning dementia memory care centre in Christchurch within its Cavendish village.

The purpose-built memory care centre has 20 large one-bedroom apartments within a secure and homely environment for people living with dementia.

Summerset Chief Executive Julian Cook said the Centre is designed to provide the best possible quality of life to the increasing number of residents needing secure rest-home level dementia care.

“Summerset is proud to be the only provider of rest home apartment living for people with dementia in New Zealand,” he said.

“Every part of our memory care centre has been designed to stimulate memories and reduce confusion and anxiety for people living with dementia to ensure they can continue to live with dignity.”

The Centre draws on research from Stirling University in Scotland, which is renowned for dementia design, and HammondCare in Australia.

Key features of the centre include a sensory room with New Zealand’s first Tovertafel (interactive sensory table from the Netherlands), which is designed to help dementia residents enjoy mental stimulation, social activity and physical activity.

Unique features to help with wayfinding including a circular design so residents cannot get lost and visual cues to help residents find their way around forms an integral part of the centre as well as biophilic design which brings elements of nature into the centre’s design to stimulate residents, including a secure courtyard garden.

With monitoring technology to discreetly monitor residents' independence while ensuring care and support remain close at hand the centre also has personalised activity and care plans for each resident.

The specially trained dementia staff work closely with residents and families to support them through the changes they are experiencing. The individual programmes and activities are designed by occupational and diversional therapists to support cognitive skills.

Dementia New Zealand Chief Executive Paul Sullivan said it is estimated that the number of people affected by dementia in New Zealand will triple to around 170,000 by 2050.

“There’s a growing number of New Zealanders needing dementia care and we’re pleased to see Summerset investing in providing this important service,” Sullivan said.

“The treatment of dementia is about care rather than cure. Summerset’s memory care centres are focused on leading the way in maximising dementia residents’ quality of life.”

Summerset will open a new centre in Rototuna, Hamilton in November this year with plans to open a further 19 memory care centres as an integral part of all new retirement villages.


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