the north face stratos Cayuga Ridge Extended Care launches sensory room for seniors
John Eilers Lloyd, director of recreation and volunteer services at Cayuga Ridge, explains the features of a snoezelen room that was being used by memory care residents.
Matt Steecker / Staff video
John John Eilers Lloyd, director of recreation and volunteer services at Cayuga Ridge, shows resident Beatrice Dean some of the gadgets in the snoezelen room.(Photo: Matt Steecker / Staff photo)Buy PhotoMemory care residents Rosalee Devlen and Beatrice Dean entered a room on the second floor of Cayuga Ridge Extended Care on Wednesday and were met withultraviolet designs on the walls and floors.
The scene: ultraviolet paints and black lights with black light posters of pastoral scenes.
Devlen, 76, and Dean, 85, both of whom have dementia, had entered a Snoezelen room, intended to boost the mood and improve the quality of life of residents at Cayuga Ridge. The room, previously used for resident occupation, was converted over the summer and completed in September.
Drums and lightsresponded to music coming from an iPod that was docked into a sound system.
Rosalee Devlen hugs a plush cat doll. (Photo: Matt Steecker / Ithaca Journal)
“We customize the music to make it either upbeat or cathartic and relaxing depending on the resident or residents coming in,” said John Eilers Lloyd, director of Recreation and Volunteer Services at Cayuga Ridge Extended Care.
Over 130 residents live at Cayuga Ridge at 1229 Trumansburg Road in Northwest Ithaca. Cayuga Ridge is starting to use the Snoezelen roomwith an initial group of about 20 residents with plans to expand the program to additional residents in the future.
Cayuga Ridge will be using the room three to four hours a week, with each sessionlasting 15 to 30 minutes.
Sometimes small groups of residents enter the room, which is about 14 feet by 24 feet. Other times, it’s just on resident. A Cayuga Ridge employee also assists the residents when they are using the room.
“Some residents benefit more one on one,” Eilers Lloyd said.
Inside the room, personnelcan play silent movies and music from “The Darkside of the Moon” to “The Wizard of Oz.”
Employees also adjust the different aromas from a diffuser. They have eight different scents, including lavender and fresh baked cookies.
“I think (the room) is great,” said Melissa DeGary, recreation leader at Cayuga Ridge. “Residents who have behavioral issues can come down here and calm down.”
Cayuga Ridge employees placed different sensory items in the snoezelen room. (Photo: Matt Steecker / Ithaca Journal)
The Snoezelen room cost Cayuga Ridge between $700 and $800 and was introduced to the facilityas a result of fundraising activities like bake sales, raffles and ice cream sundae sales on Sundays, Eilers Lloyd said. The fundraising was done in Cayuga Ridge, resulting in a majority of the moneycoming from staff and visitors, but some came from residentspurchasing baked goods and sundaes.
Cayuga Ridge employees created the room with items they bought as well as leftover items at Cayuga Ridge.
“We sold a lot of ice cream this summer. With the staff working together with a common goal and giving back, we have created something truly wonderful for residents to improve their quality of life,” Eilers Lloyd said. “Our biggest hope is that we can work with Ithaca College’s Gerontology Institute so we can connect with the community. Maybe they can find better solutions and it would be a learning experience for them.”
Much of the installation process of the involved getting boards and then attaching gadgets and items residents can use for a tactile experience. These objects included a steering wheel, an abacus, light up items, and an assortment of surfaces such as sandpaper, carpeting and rocky surfaces Eilers Lloyd bought from Lowe’s.
In addition to being used for people with dementia and the elderly, Snoezelen rooms are also used for people with behavioral issues, occupational therapy, people with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues, very young children, individuals with autism, and individuals with brain injuries, according to the Worldwide Snoezelen Foundation. Snoezelens have been set up in schools, resource centers, hospices and community centers.
Cayuga Ridge employees also placed snoezelen decorations on the floor. (Photo: Matt Steecker / Ithaca Journal)
Barbara Ganzel, director of the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, said Snoezelen rooms were first used with children with autism.
“Their use has broadened a lot because they can help improvemood, engagement, attention, activity level and communication if used well,” Ganzel said.
Ganzel said several studies with either small or large groupshave been conducted on Snoezelen rooms. Depending on factors such as sample sizes and the time of day tests were done, some studieshad positive results, while other results were mixed.