£100k refurb creates sensory areas for dementia sufferers at care home

The lives of care home residents living with dementia and learning disabilities have been made more comfortable after a £100,000 refurbishment.

Residents at Windermere Grange Care Home in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, have had a direct hand in creating a range of new sensory areas and themed rooms to stimulate memory and make them feel more at home.

Care home operator St Martins Care, which owns six homes across the region, has spent £100,000 in the last year improving the facilities at Windermere Grange, which specialises in residential, dementia, learning disabilities and respite care.

But staff, residents and their relatives have also contributed towards the refurbishment by organising their own fundraising events to help fund additional, fun elements.

Residents now spend regular quiz nights and pie and peas suppers in the ‘pub’ room, while new themed walls help to stimulate memories and create happy environments.

Local businessman and charity leader Andy Preston helped to officially launch the new-look care home during a special event.

Windermere Grange home manager Donna Jones, who has worked with dementia residents for more than 10 years, said: “We asked the residents what they wanted, so we created themed walls to give them talking and memory points.

“The residents have a lot of input into everything. It’s their home, so we ask them what they want in everything we do, and their families get involved as well.

“We’re currently raising money to buy a tram simulator so residents can get the feeling of travelling or going for a day out.

“It’s just about trying to make their lives as normal as possible. They can go to the hairdressers and the pub – and soon they’ll be able to jump on a tram.”

Mr Preston, who runs several local businesses as well as the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and CEO Sleepout charities, said: “I was delighted to go along to the new-look Windermere Grange and join in their celebration of the refurbishment.

“What I was particularly impressed with was the way all the staff and residents’ families have all raised money from events in their own time so they could create something extra special for the people who live here.

“It’s a fantastic example of community spirit, everyone pulling together, and they’ve created a really special atmosphere – they should all be immensely proud of themselves.”

• Pictured (top): Businessman Andy Preston with Windermere Grange Care Home manager Donna Jones and resident Angela as they cut a ribbon to celebrate the home’s refurbishment; (above): Andy Preston with Windermere Care Home manager Donna Jones in the new ‘bar’; and with staff.