Exemplars of Dementia Design: Brooklands Rest Home and Memory Care

Dementia Specialists Ltd have owned and operated Brooklands Rest Home and Memory Care in New Plymouth since August 2016. Since then, the 1980s building and its grounds have been extensively refurbished to create a 14-bed secure dementia care unit, called Memory Lane, on one side of the L-shaped facility and 14 rest home beds on the other side.

A major focus of the refurbishment has been creating a homely therapeutic environment that promotes independence for residents and helps to ensure they feel valued.

A photo of a lounge room in Rest Home and Memory Care

Secure dementia care home size and density

The open-plan kitchen, dining room and lounge are set out like a typical home and run the same way. Meal times are flexible and residents can self-serve their own meals, sitting at a nice dining room table together. Staff and family members eat with residents, family-style.

Residents are free to make cups of tea - some of them help themselves to morning and afternoon tea, and staff help the others. Also, some even do the dishes. There are no set times to get up or go to bed, and staff have an unobtrusive style of care to encourage residents’ sense of independence. This has all helped to reduce challenging behaviours, with residents noticeably more settled.

Kitchen and dining area in Brooklands Rest Home and Memory Care

Gardens and environs

Brooklands’ secure outdoor area has been designed to use every metre of space to maximize the residents’ experiences. The garden is flat and easily visible from the open plan lounge/dining room area, and residents can freely wander outside, where they can enjoy nature and undertake typical garden activities, such as mowing and raking.

The garden shed is stocked with tools and plans are afoot to start offering woodwork sessions so residents can create such items as bird feeders and coffee tables. This aims to boost feelings of self-worth and usefulness, as well as encouraging them to recall skills they have learned from their past.

An outdoor area at Brooklands Rest Home and Memory Care

Stylish comfortable outdoor furniture offers a pleasant spot for residents to sit and relax, while a clothesline adds a familiar homely feel and is a practical addition for residents to hang out washing.

Clothes line area at Brooklands Rest Home and Memory Care

Nine hens are very popular new arrivals at Brooklands. Many residents have raised chooks in the past, so the birds stimulate memories as well as enjoyment for those gathering eggs and caring for them. Residents can wander out at their leisure to interact with the hens in the chook house, which adjoins Memory Lane. 

Hens with residents at Brooklands Rest Home and Memory Care

Raised garden boxes have been created along one of the fences along with numerous potted plants, which are very popular for those with green fingers keen on tending the flowers. The area offers an enjoyable activity as well as a sense of purpose.

Garden activities at Brooklands Rest Home and Memory Care
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