Mayor opens garden room and indoor beach at our Woodland Grove Care Home

Loughton’s Mayor, Cllr Stephen Murray, has officially opened two new sensory rooms that bring the sounds and smells of the garden and the beach into our Woodland Grove Care Home
in Loughton.

Staff on Snowdrop, our specialist dementia floor, brought the outside in for our residents, to stimulate their senses and to bring back fond memories.

The garden room at Woodland Grove allows residents to walk on the grass, listen to birdsong and pot seedlings, while the beach room allows our residents to sit with their feet in the sand, dig sandcastles and smell the sea air while in the.  Both spaces have been designed by Woodland Grove Care Home’s Dementia Care Manager, Jane Hare.

“People with dementia can’t always access the garden independently but the sensory stimulation it gives them can help them to feel relaxed and happy,” said Jane.  “By bringing the soil and the feel of grass into the care home they have a space they can access safely.  Because they can go into the room whenever they want to it also gives them greater independence.

“These familiar settings remind them of pottering around the garden or family holidays by the sea so they also help people to feel good and reduce feelings of anxiety.”

People’s behaviour in the rooms gives Jane and her staff on the Dementia Care Unit essential information about their likes and dislikes.

“Seeing what people enjoy helps us to learn more about them – what they like, who they are – especially when they are non-verbal and can’t tell us what they’re feeling.  Their body language and expressions tell us a great deal so we can provide the tailored, personalised care they deserve.”

A resident is reliving a life-long love of sunbathing, thanks to the new room designs.

She moved into Woodland Grove Care Home 3 years ago but rarely came out of her room.  Now, she sits with her sunhat and sunglasses on, enjoying the sounds and smells of the beach and her happy memories.

Her family remember how whenever there was a glimpse of sunshine Mum would be in the garden, and how they always knew that if it was a nice day there wouldn’t be any dinner on the table because she’d be outside!

“It’s wonderful to see her enjoying the beach room.  She’s so much happier and she’s spending time with other residents which she wasn’t really doing before.”

The garden room has been sponsored by local business, Carpets 4 Less in Loughton.  Owner, Mark Cottam, said he was delighted to provide the artificial grass flooring together with £500 towards kitting the garden out.

“It’s great to be able to support our local community and to know that we’ve contributed to the wellbeing of the residents here.  And it’s wonderful to see it in situ!”

The beach and garden rooms at the 72-bed care home were officially opened on Thursday 20th September by Councillor Murray.

“I’m really impressed by the two new facilities here at Woodland Grove, residents will be truly stimulated by them and Woodland Grove is to be congratulated by what they have achieved here.”

“Speaking on behalf of local residents in Loughton, we are absolutely delighted that this specialist facility has been provided in our area. It’s got excellent reviews and has been here for just half an hour I have felt the warmth of the space and I’m also personally really delighted it has been set up in the area. It really is the dedicated professional staff that make a place like this work.”