Care home creates sensory room for dementia patients


A home in Limburg is taking part in a European initiative that aims to activate people’s memories, improve communication and potentially reduce the need for medication

Sense garden

A Limburg care home is creating a room that triggers the memories of people with dementia through sensory stimuli.

The initiative at Aan de Beverdijk in Hamont-Achel is part of a European trial project called Sense Garden, which will last three years. The idea for the project comes from Norwegian professor Artur Serrano, and the local partner is E-point, a company in Hamont-Achel that specialises in care technology.

“We will develop a space in which we can bring back long-term memories via sensory stimuli,” E-point project co-ordinator Ronny Broekx told De Standaard. “Using sensors, we will measure the impact of these memories on a person’s behaviour.” 

Various scenes can be projected on the walls of the room: for example, a forest, so the person feels like they are in a woodland from their childhood. Images, sounds, scents, flavours and touch stimuli will all be used. Family and other people closely involved with the patient will be involved.

“By activating old memories, we may find a way to communicate better,” said Piet Bormans, director of the care home. “By guiding these memories, the care provider can hopefully help to reduce restlessness and wandering.” In the best case, a patient’s medication can also be reduced, he said. 

The project is supported by the Flemish government’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship agency (Vlaio) and the EU’s Active and Assisted Living programme. The countries taking part are Belgium, Portugal, Rumania and Norway.

Photo courtesy