Mirrors left out of £9m dementia care home

Abbeyfield Winnersh Castleoak

A care home in Berkshire has been designed without mirrors in the bedrooms, bathrooms and communal areas with the aim of reducing confusion, frustration and embarrassment.

Abbeyfield Winnersh, a purpose-built £9m care home hopes that the move will remove potential triggers for anguish and agitation, instilling a sense of peace and contentment for residents.

According to older people’s housing and care charity The Abbeyfield Society, some residents may not recognise their own reflection while others may become frustrated that the person in the mirror does not respond or copy their actions. They can also be scared there is a stranger in their room or embarrassed that they have to undress in front of someone.

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But while mirrors can upset some people, they can also provide comfort and companionship for others as people can form friendships with their reflection.

Kathryn Smith, director of operations at Alzheimer’s Society, told Melissa McAlees of carehome.co.uk: “As a person’s dementia progresses, they may be less able to remember faces or put visual information together. For some people, mirrors can cause problems because they may not recognise their own reflection and become distressed.

“Mirrors can also cause some people to avoid rooms, become disorientated and believe there is an intruder in the room among other issues. However, not all people with dementia will experience problems with mirrors – and some people may still want to use and access one for personal care.”

Abbeyfield accommodates and cares for people aged 55 and over and spent three years designing and developing the care home in Berkshire which opened in July 2016, according to carehome.co.uk. It worked in partnership with specialist developer Castleoak to enhance the quality of life for those living with dementia.

Natasha Singarayer, chief executive of the Abbeyfield Society told carehome.co.uk: “Abbeyfield’s innovative new facility at Winnersh has been carefully planned to provide a unique approach to dementia care. Abbeyfield’s experience means we understand that the combined careful design of physical and social environments positively supports people with dementia.

“We have worked with pioneering specialist architects, interior designers and landscape gardeners to ensure residents living with dementia have a happy, healthy and fulfilled life.”

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