We actively encourage relatives to bring in items which have a familiar feel about them and that may have sentimental memories to each individual. These may come in many forms, a favourite chair, a snuggle blanket, a china display cabinet and old photographs are particularly important (please no new photographs as these can increase anxiety), even some old postcards of favourite holidays work well. It does not matter if they are chipped or tatty it’s the personal memories or comforting feelings they hold to each person that counts. These items are great when it comes to settling down for sleep each night. When each individual has changed into their night clothes, the night staff team have time to sit and talk to each person for a few minutes; these items are great at starting a conversation.
If you are living with dementia and trying to go to sleep, struggling to recognise your bedroom brings all sorts of unsettling feelings.
For the people living with advanced stages silky or satin material gently stroked down the cheek bones or the brushing of hair with a soft brush also helps a person to relax before drifting off into sleep.
We have 20 bedrooms, most with en-suites. Two are twin bedrooms on the ground floor in the hub of the house and prove particularly popular. To most people sharing a bedroom and en-suite would not seem particularly advantageous, but if you have been living with dementia and feel the need to be around people a bedroom to yourself can also feel lonely bringing on anxieties. From past experience most of the people who have moved into a twin room relax and sleep much better.