A NEW piece of sensory equipment called Voyager will help to ease the restlessness and anxiety suffered by some dementia patients to the day centre at Southlands, Port Erin.
The Voyager includes a bubble tube, fibre optic curtain, projector, MP3 player and a mirror and creates a calming atmosphere through displaying a water filled tube with beads that move and change colour and projects images of tropical fish and clouds onto a wall.
Users can change the colour of the beads using a remote control. Fibre optic lights, tactile panels with various textures along with mirror balls are also in use to create the soothing ambiance.
The Voyager was bought and installed thanks to a £4,320 donation by the Ballamona Association for Mental Health, a charity that provides amenities and comforts outside of the statutory departmental provisions. Originally the charity, established in 1966, catered for the needs of patients in Ballamona Hospital, but now helps those with mental health problems, dementia or memory loss in the community and residential accommodation.
The Minister for Social Care Martyn Quayle, MHK said: ‘My department is striving to meet the needs of the island’s older people by providing an increasing range of community-based services in addition to established residential services. We are very grateful to the Ballamona Association for Mental Health for their kind donation. The department is committed to ensuring that the needs of people with dementia are met using a range of therapy and support. This new equipment will play an important role in achieving this.’
The association has also provided equipment such as electrically operated beds and pressure mattresses and the department said its assistance is particularly appreciated in this challenging financial climate.
Southlands has 48 residents plus fluctuating numbers of those staying temporarily as part of the ‘hospital to home’ scheme, which helps to ease people’s transition on leaving hospital to return home. The Gansey day centre has 26 clients altogether.