Treatment brings therapy via sensory diversion

Aspen Rest Home's diversional therapist Marilyn Liddington (left) and manager Olwyn Kunz with weighted soft toy dogs which are part of a range of different tools used to help calm residents in a new Bay of Plenty-first sensory room. The Aspen Rest Home sensory room will be the first of its kind in the Bay of Plenty when it is officially opened on March 7.

The room allows for sensory modulation to calm people who are feeling agitated or to lift people who are feeling depressed. Ms Kunz said the objects were especially therapeutic for dementia-affected residents because they often fidgeted. Other objects included soft toy dogs, weighed down with sand to mimic the real weight of a small dog when placed on a person's lap.

Already, the room has proven successful with some residents who typically become stressed at certain times of the day using the room to settle down, even falling asleep, instead of lashing out or attempting to run away, Ms Kunz said. Mayor Stuart Crosby, who will be attending the launch, said the room was a "fantastic initiative".

An open day will be on March 9.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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