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Dementia-friendly transformation at Birchwood House Care Home

With research increasingly showing that people living with dementia can benefit from changes being made to their living environment, staff at Birchwood House Care Home in Newbury initiated a project to transform the Walnut Wing.

Walnut Wing Coloured Doors
Walnut Wing Coloured Doors

People with dementia may need help finding their way around and recognising their bedroom. The corridors in the Walnut Wing have been repainted so that there is a darker colour at the bottom and a lighter colour at the top to help residents to navigate the space more easily.

Specialist artwork has been bought from a dementia-friendly site, including era-specific pictures, to aid with reminiscence and to ensure pictures are vibrant and engaging. Each resident also now has a different coloured door so that it is more easily recognisable, to help them find their own room.

New chairs have been introduced which provide lower seating and a higher back, which are more supportive and easier to use, and they are also in colours which can be more easily distinguished from the background wall colour.

It is important to make the toilet or bathroom a safe and easy place to use. As part of the adaptations contrasting coloured toilet seats have also been put in place.

In the dining room, specialist, contrasting coloured cutlery was introduced, which is easier to see and to use, and helps with issues related to loss of co-ordination and visual impairment.

Dementia Friendly Adaptations to Birchwood - Various
Dementia Friendly Adaptations to Birchwood - Various


A sensory trolley has also been added to the resources available at Birchwood House, allowing residents to enjoy a range of sensory activities. The trolley can moved wherever it is needed, including residents bedrooms.

To find out more about the difference dementia-friendly adaptations can make see: Dementia Friendly Environments

Make adaptations in your own home: If you are interested in making dementia-friendly adaptations in your own home, or the home of someone you care for, you can also find advice on the Age UK and Alzheimer's Society websites.

Sensory Trolley - Birchwood House
Sensory Trolley - Birchwood House

Learn more about dementia: To find out more about dementia, how it can impact on people and how you can help support people living with dementia in your community, you can sign up for a short information session with 'Dementia Friends'. This Alzheimer's Society initiative is about getting more people to develop their understanding of dementia.