Remembering

2013-03-14 00:00

“AT first they were Calvinistic ‘aunties’ who wouldn’t touch anything, but once they started touching all the things in the room they couldn’t stop. Misgivings were completely forgotten. This place is like a womb.”

This is according to Ina Smith, a caregiver who works with mentally challenged residents at the Park Care Centre in Johannesburg, who was commenting on the effect that the centre’s latest addition, a Snoezelen room, is having on its patients.

A Snoezelen room is a place where multisensory therapy is carried out.

The idea is to stimulate the senses of mentally challenged people, and particularly those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, to enable them to recall happy memories.

The room, which smells like lavender and lemon, contains clothes and toys with which patients can play. There are also different kinds of lighting, and music is played in the background. Patients can also make their own music with instruments.

Then there is a sand pit and a vibrating chair.

Jenni Comins, the centre’s occupational therapist, said the results have been “unbelievable”.

“The therapy makes them peaceful and calm. It also gives them energy and encourages them to move around. It gives them hope,” she said.

Comins warned that the room does not “heal” people.

It delays the process of forgetting, and stimulates them intellectually and emotionally.

“People lose their short-term memory first. The last memories they lose are those relating to their childhood — the music they grew up with, and the smells and tastes of their mother’s house.”

Susan Booyens, manager of the centre, said it also relieves the emotional burden of visiting hours.

In the United States there are massive Snoezelen rooms, but this form of treatment is still rare in South Africa, according to Comins.

Sheila Garvie, a resident known as the “80-year-old hippie”, always puts a purple hat on her head and purple feathers around her neck. She remembers purple as her favourite colour.

“The room is fantastic. Everybody has something in them that wants to come out and this room brings it out,” she said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.