September is World Alzheimer’s Month – an international campaign to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and challenge stigma associated with the condition. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia which affects memory, thinking, problem solving and language.

Greensleeves Care, a national care charity, has responded to this challenge by introducing a dementia service at all its care homes including Kingston House in Calne. As part of its dementia service, the charity has changed the way it recruits and trains its staff and has created a dementia friendly culture within all its care homes. The care provided to residents is based on the principles of ‘personhood’ by Dr Tom Kitwood. He identified that all human beings have the need for comfort, attachment, inclusion, occupation and identity. These needs are even more significant for those living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

At Kingston House, a specially designed dementia care unit called Lavender Lodge has been given a facelift with ‘snuggly’ throws, cushions and soft toys. A lot of thought has been given to the choice of colours to reduce any feelings of anxiety. Purple has been selected for the conservatory and flooring of similar colour was laid from bedroom into bathroom so that people don’t perceive a step when there is none. Dementia-friendly signage helps guide the residents around Lavender Lodge. The residents’ bedroom doors are adorned by memory boxes, making it easier for a resident to find their own room.

Marie Powell, Home Manager at Kingston House said: “Ever since we introduced the changes to Lavender Lodge with softer colours and furnishings, we noticed that residents became calmer and happier. Indeed, many care staff state a preference for working in Lavender Lodge, which shows the importance of our home environment. We are delighted to have been able to create a positive atmosphere for residents and staff at Lavender Lodge.”