‘True Doors’ Trigger Memories for Dementia Clients

on the Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Bethanie, Western Australia’s leading not-for-profit aged care and retirement living provider, is constantly looking for ways to assist their residents living with dementia and have come up with a unique concept to help trigger memories of the past, and make residents feel at home in the dementia wing of Bethanie Waters Aged Care Home in Port Kennedy.

The new endeavor is called the ‘True Doors’ project and has seen all 40 rooms located in the dementia secure wing of the aged care home, receive a door motif on the front of the room.

The True Doors are stickers that make the door to the resident’s room look like the front door to a house. The aim is for residents to be able to identify their own rooms more easily and also for residents to feel like they are coming home when they go back to their rooms.

Bethanie Occupational Therapist Skye Scantlebury says, “Residents and families each chose their own unique door design, opting for motifs that may be similar for example to a house they lived in whilst growing up. Where residents and families were unable to choose, we researched their favourite colours and traditional style doors from their hometowns.”

All in an effort to make the area more dementia friendly, the idea for this project came from Bethanie Fields – who implemented a similar project in 2018 with great success which saw 25 residents located in the dementia secure wing of the aged care facility receive a door motif on the front of their room.

Bethanie Waters resident Coralie Garside said, “I chose my door motif because of how beautiful the stain glass window was, it looked so peaceful and beautiful and it reminded me of home. It makes it mine.”

Bethanie Waters resident Rodney Lethby’s door was chosen with some help from his wife who shared a story about how Rod’s father and grandfather built the first church in Woolaroo, which had similar stain glass windows. Rodney says, “My door makes my room much easier to find.”  

Skye adds, “Dementia is a unique experience, and everybody is different, so we are hoping that with this project we can connect even more personally to every one of our residents and assist to bring back some cherished memories.

“Not only will it assist with orientation, but it will also replace the clinical atmosphere on our dementia specific wing to make it a more homely environment. The new doors have already generated much discussion and reminiscence between residents and staff.”

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