Summerset has opened its first dementia Memory Care Centre in Hamilton at its Rototuna retirement village. The purpose-built Memory Care Centre has 20 large one-bedroom apartments within a secure environment for people living with dementia.
Summerset Chief Executive Julian Cook said dementia is one of the 21st century’s greatest health challenges.
“Dementia is affecting so many more New Zealanders as our population ages and while there is sadly no cure on the horizon, our memory care centres will improve the care available to people affected by the disease,” Cook said.
Summerset’s memory care centres are the only secure dementia facility in New Zealand to offer apartment-living for residents and an interactive Tovertafel sensory table for mental stimulation.
“We have carefully designed our centres to provide the best possible quality of life to the increasing number of residents needing secure rest-home level dementia care," said Cook.
“The aim is 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 insights from Dementia New Zealand and research from Scotland’s Stirling University, which is renowned for dementia design. The Centre’s first residents will move into their new home this month.
Key features of the centre include:
- A sensory room with one of New Zealand’s only Tovertafel (interactive sensory lightbox from the Netherlands). It’s scientifically 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
- The biophilic design which brings elements of nature into the centre’s design to stimulate residents, including a secure courtyard garden
- Monitoring technology to discreetly monitor residents' independence while ensuring care and support remain close at hand
- Personalised activity and care plans for each resident
- Specially trained dementia staff who work closely with residents and families to support them through the changes they are experiencing
- Individual programmes and activities designed by diversional therapists to cultivate cognitive skills.
Dementia New Zealand Chair Jocelyn Weatherall said it is estimated that the number of people affected by dementia in New Zealand will almost triple to around 170,000 by 2050.
“With growing numbers of people being diagnosed with dementia there will be an increased demand for dementia care and we’re pleased to see Summerset investing in providing this level of capability in dementia care,” Weatherall said.
“The treatment of dementia is about care rather than cure. Summerset’s Memory Care Centres are focused on leading the way in maximising quality of life for people living with dementia.”
Summerset plans to open Memory Care Centres in all the new retirement villages, including three retirement villages that opened this year in Papamoa Beach, Napier and New Plymouth.