Kawerau dementia wing under construction
3 February 2015
A NEW purpose-built dementia wing at Kawerau’s Mountain View Rest Home is under construction and should be completed by June.
Kawerau Social Services Trust spokesman John Brierley said people were living longer and problems like dementia were predicted to increase as the population aged both regionally and nationally.
He said the wing could house up to 10 residents and included a renovated section of the old building, a new extension and secure garden area.
Previously Kawerau residents with family members suffering dementia had to travel nearly an hour to the closest facility so the new wing would provide an option to keep loved ones closer to home.
Mountain View manager Jeanette Crook said the organisation was working with a district health board specialist to ensure the space was suitably equipped for residents.
She said it was common for patients to remember their childhood and young adult years but forget more recent memories.
Sufferers also struggled to complete everyday tasks previously completed thousands of times, for example when making a cup of tea they could fail to fill or boil the jug, Ms Crook said.
Other symptoms included wandering and aggressive behaviour.
These considerations required a range of special features including a secure circular design which allowed residents to walk through a garden then back into the wing to create the impression of walking somewhere without becoming lost.
Rooms were colour coded, wardrobe doors were removed, and nooks were cut out of drawers to remind residents where their belongings were stored.
Items were painted with particular colours to indicate their function, like blue around the toilet to communicate water.
Ms Crook said dementia sufferers remembered the world and themselves the way it was in their 30s or 40s and mirrors reflecting their current appearances were confusing and alarming.
Instead these were replaced with photo boards featuring images from their younger years.
The wing would host its own kitchen and laundry area for residents to complete productive and familiar household tasks, like washing and cooking.
Before the wing began accepting patients it must be approved to offer dementia care by the Ministry of Health.
Ms Crook estimated the current demand for dementia services could half fill the wing’s 10 beds.
Source: Whakatane Beacon