In June 2017, Crosslet House – Cooper Cromar's and West Dunbartonshire's new care home in Dumbarton – was officially opened.
New £10million dementia-friendly super care home in Dumbarton leads the way
West Dunbartonshire Council-run Crosslet House is now welcoming its first residents.
Care home residents living with dementia are being given help in dealing with the degenerative disease simply by the surroundings in which they stay.
Drawing on best practice from around the world, Crosslet House’s focus is on removing many of the stresses which make dementia, in particular, so frightening.
And residents who have recently moved into the £10million state-of-the-art development in Dumbarton have even likened it to a five- star hotel.
Phil MacDonald, West Dunbartonshire Council’s integrated operations manager of care home development, said: “The feedback we have had so far from relatives and service users has been wonderful. They are saying it is like a plush hotel!
“This is their home and we want residents to feel comfortable and supported in their environment.”
With a modern cinema room, outdoor terrace, internet rooms, gardens, hair salon and nail bar, the facility provides 84 beds — replacing Langcraigs, Willox Park and Dalreoch House care homes — as well as day centre care.
And last week, the Lennox Herald went along to the new West Dunbartonshire Council-run care home for a tour.
It is a world apart from stereotypical care homes in converted old buildings residents will be used to — with bright interiors, high tech features and adaptable flexible spaces.
Residents are free to walk around the place, providing a sense of freedom — within a secure environment — that’s often sacrificed when dementia is at an advanced stage.
There are currently around 1400 people understood to be living with dementia in West Dunbartonshire but this figure is expected to grow dramatically within the next 30 years.
And Phil told how assisting residents with dementia lay at the heart of its design. He said: “We have drawn ideas from other areas which have implemented good practice and we have learnt a lot from what they have done. But there’s a lot we have done differently which we think is better.
“We have undertaken a significant amount of research to get this right, for example, we have sought research around the use of space and colour to assist those with dementia.
“Everything has been designed in accordance with light reflectance values, where tonal contrasts in design helps prevent accidents amongst those with dementia.
“Some people who have dementia may see a stranger looking back at them when they look into a mirror so we sourced mirrors for the en-suite bathrooms which can be easily flipped over in the bathroom.”
Aside from communal areas, which include a lobby, cinema room, cafe, hairdressers, nail bar and treatment room, the building is split into three houses – Drumkinnon, Dalquhurn and Denny.
Each has four flats designed with four primary colours to assist those with dementia in helping identify with their home.
There are lounges and adaptable communal spaces within each flat, which can be used as recreational rooms for hobbies or allow families to organise special events, like birthday parties, for their loved ones.
The lounges and bedrooms each have wall- mounted Smart TVs, which transmit films and performances which are playing in the cinema room.
The en-suite flats accommodate up to seven residents, with see-through boxes outside each room, containing treasured mementoes to aid navigation.
Phil continued: “Everything from the colour of the flat doors to kitchen appliances and outdoor panelling is designed in accordance with each colour. It means residents can identify their home with that colour and feel confident exploring their surroundings, whether it be going for a walk in the gardens or a hairdressing appointment.
“In-depth consideration has been applied to every area of design.
“This is a care home which has been built for the new generation of older people who are tech savvy and want to Skype relatives and check their emails.
“It moves away from the traditional care home model where residents would have a small room within a building.”
Despite residents having the freedom to explore, the facility has rigorous security and safety features.
All staff must scan into each room, with a computer automatically logging their whereabouts.
There is also CCTV covering the entire building and all staff members have pagers, which sound if certain security doors are opened.
By Jenny Foulds (21 June 2017) for the Lennox Herald/Daily Record