The state-of-the-art facility designed by DAY Architectural Ltd , is based at Heathlands Village, a care home run by Prestwich-based social care charity, The Fed.
The £1.5m project has been funded through the generosity of Manchester donors, providing a safe, beautiful home, tailored to the care needs of up to 20 vulnerable older people.
“The opening of Beach House is the latest stage in the transformation of Heathlands Village, first planned in 2010 and begun three years later. We’ve created a 21st Century dementia friendly care environment for older people,” explains The Fed’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Joyce Khan.
CEO Mark Cunningham enumerated the many radical changes: “The new Woodland and Seaside sensory gardens, The Central Cafe, the activity centre, atrium and shop; the new two-way reception, hairdresser’s and medical suite; Oakwood – our dementia nursing unit; the Purple Room community centre; the community services team offices; the Children’s Centre…..If you say it quickly it doesn’t sound like much but it amounts to eight years’ hard work.
What does it mean? It means better care and a better place to live for the most vulnerable people in our community.
As we live longer, more people are affected by dementia. It is a cruel disease that steals people’s most prized possessions – their memories.
We believe what we are creating at Heathlands Village is part of the answer: a communal hub where people carry on living; a place where relatives and children want to come and stay and in many cases, play; a happy place where people feel safe, fulfilled and loved.”
He thanked the charity’s donors who had made the refurbishment possible:
“Without your support we couldn’t have done it. Together I think we have created one of the best care homes in the country….” Mark singled out Director of Operations, Sheila Heywood-Holt, who skilfully oversaw the entire project.
“We’ve brought the theme of our Seaside sensory garden indoors, creating a bright, uplifting environment. As people who have dementia often live very much in the past we employed a theme which seeks to stimulate positive memories of trips to the seaside and family holidays, either growing up or in young adult life.”
The flowing layout allows people to wander out through one door and in through another, helping to reduce agitation and providing a sense of a purpose. They can make their way unassisted, directly from the orangery, out into the Seaside garden, where they can enjoy meander round the beach huts or along the pier, without any risk to safety.
Inside the corridors have bright rectangular ceiling panels which mimic a natural blue sky. Lighting levels can be adjusted at different times of the day to help regulate people’s body clocks.
The seaside theme extends into the Reval Transcare assisted bathroom with Hydro-Spa, Colour-Spa and Aroma-Spa which has hydro massage and a range of lighting options. It is ideal for people living with dementia. Its tilting function allows users to relax yet feel fully supported whilst immersed shoulder-deep in warm water. It is very effective for soothing anxiety.
In individual bedrooms, over-the-bed sensors trigger automatic lighting if a resident gets up during the night to use the toilet, and similarly helps guide them back from the bathroom, minimising the risk of falls or confusion.
Bedroom chests and wardrobes have been designed with open cut-away sections allowing the contents to be viewed enabling people to locate their clothing and other belongings without help.
Recessed front doors leading to bedrooms create a greater sense of space. Each is painted a different colour, with large clear numbering. Individual memory boxes are affixed by each door displaying photos of family and friends and items of personal memorabilia. All of these factors boost people’s autonomy enabling them to navigate to their own room.
Although food is prepared by the home’s catering team in its main kitchens, the wing has two kitchens for residents’ own use, just off the main communal hub, where they can make themselves or visitors a drink and snack.”
“We’ve taken meticulous care to create an environment which makes the most of people’s abilities, to help them be their own person – so crucial in engendering feelings of purpose and contentment.”