Piatt County Nursing Home Adminstrator Scott Porter admits a proposed upgrade has an odd name, but he says it will reap great benefits for the facility's dementia-care patients.
A Snoezelen (SNOOZ-len) activity room would help staff do all they can to alert all the senses of those in the nursing home’s 28-bed Halcyon Unit.
The idea was unveiled Sept. 26 at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Halcyon wing, a fully skilled dementia care area that was created with the help of 150 volunteers and 22,000 hours of effort, all of which resulted in a $600,000 bond referendum being approved to fund the effort more than three decades ago
A Snoezelen room, named after its Norwegian roots, would involve only $30,000 in expenses, but Nursing Home Director Scott Porter said the activity area would be a key benefit to those in the Halcyon Unit.
“It can be staged to provide a multi-sensory experience or single sensory focus, simply by adapting the lighting, atmosphere, sounds, and textures to the specific needs of the resident at the time of use,” he told the audience at the anniversary gathering.
He went on to note that research has found that Alzheimer’s tends to damage the language areas of the brain early on, sometimes disguising itself as hard of hearing.
“A major advantage of Snoezelen therapy is that it does not rely on verbal communication, as it may provide stimulation through all of the five senses, for those who would otherwise be almost impossible to reach,” he said.
Porter has been aware of the method since starting at the nursing home as an activity director in 2013, and termed it a project “that I always promised myself that, if the opportunity arose, I would pursue it on behalf of the residents.”
Those wishing to contribute to the effort can donate to the Piatt County Nursing Home Foundation.
Porter said he would have liked to open a time capsule buried in 1987 and exhumed twice since.
Except no one can find it.
Not that any effort was spared in attempting to locate it. Staff looked, metal detectors were employed, and “five separate employees dug 15 separate holes in the Halcyon courtyard and gardens, resulting in 20 hours of man work,” he said.
“The result? One very confused and concerned Master Gardener,” he added. “Unfortunately we are still looking.”
Porter also thanked those who organized the Halycon anniversary event, including the assistant to the director at the nursing home Kara Olsen, administrative assistant Suzanna Brock, Charity Hilliard and dietary director Rich Rogers.
He also acknowledged the 1980s efforts of then-nursing home administrator Marilyn Benedino, Dr. Roger Weise, and staff members Tony Bowdry, Noki Ashmore, Karla Bradley and Peggy Keeter for their contributions to the formation of the Halcyon Unit.