New Spaces Engage Residents with Dementia

Finding new ways to engage residents is a constant goal of our direct care team at St. John’s Home. Our newest Beyond Memory dementia care rooms were designed to do just that. The two new spaces were created by dementia specialist Mimi DeVinney and therapeutic recreation specialist Lamonda Robinson, but the vision came directly from residents.

Lamonda puts it simply, by stating “we just listen to residents and give them what they need.” After listening to the residents, Lamonda and Mimi found that residents wanted an extra space besides their rooms to get away from the crowd to unwind.  From this simple concept, the “She Shed” and “Man Cave” were born.

Both rooms feature engaging stations and activities based on what the residents enjoy. For example, the “She Shed” features all the elements

needed for a day of pampering including: a nail station, a place for residents to style their hair, various accessories, and more. It even features a kitchen area where Lamonda and other staff enjoy baking with St. John’s Home residents.

Of course, male residents are more than welcome to join in the fun within the She Shed if they so choose. For those men who prefer other types of activities, the Man Cave features everything from a small putting green to a work bench station, various cars and trains, magazines, a chess table, and more.

Since their official opening, the rooms have been a big hit with both residents and families. Lamonda explained that residents have been grateful to take a moment away from larger common areas to enjoy socializing with friends and family in a space other than their own rooms. Residents are able to relax and enjoy activities in these spaces accompanied by staff or family members. These new spaces have also helped to spark ideas for new resident clubs such as the Purple Hat Society, which recently met for the first time. A Football Club is expected to blossom in the fall where residents can watch games together and discuss their thoughts or predictions for the season.

Working with residents suffering from dementia has been a passion for both Mimi and Lamonda that has continued to grow over the years. Lamonda encourages those new to working with dementia residents to always treat them as adults and listen to their needs. She notes that, “even if they can’t talk much—they still hear, see, and feel. Treat them respectfully because they are still our equals.” Lamonda emphasizes that she continues to learn from the residents everyday and is always listening for the next great idea.

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