Greenville senior living community create a sensory room for memory loss


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – At Rolling Green Village, residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have been working in a new room to help them stay active and engaged, the memory care sensory room.

The room, according to Marketing Director Ruth Wood, was the brain child of a conversation between herself and Director of Facilities Skip Wiggins.

She explained that in a matter of months, Wiggins and his crew, put together a colorful, dimly light room, with tactile, plush, and various visual aids for their seniors to interact with.

“Where [residents] just have these moments of joy in their lives,” Woods said.

Residents with memory loss sometimes have trouble interacting or staying engaged. This can cause them to become withdrawn, even depressed.

Additional issues caused by the disease can result in the person becoming confused, scared or even agitated.

But, the sensory room, Wiggins noted, has calming sounds, things to touch, and look at, that could help in triggering memories.

“We’re trying to create an environment and trying to do things that brings them back to the present. That helps them to enjoy those kind of things,” Wiggins said.

Wood and Wiggins explained the more than 20 residents in their Memory Care neighborhood, all have positive experiences in the room.

But there’s no telling what sound, visual aid, or touch can bring forth a memory.

“That memory is still there with them, sometimes its just hard to get out,” Wiggins said.

Wood’s late father suffered from Alzheimer’s while staying at Rolling Green Village. Making sure residents still enjoy themselves, while living with memory loss, is key for her.

She remembered one day she came to visit him and he didn’t know who she was. But, he did want to share something with her.

“He looked around and said ‘I’m going to tell you secret.’ I said ‘Ok, what’s the secret?’ He said ‘This is the best cruise I’ve ever been on,’ ” Wood said.

The sensory room, is one of two interactive rooms in the community. Seniors have also been able to visit the ‘Curiosity Shop’.

The shop isn’t dimly lit and has loud interactive materials placed on the walls. But, both rooms have triggers, with the purpose of keeping seniors engaged.

Wiggins said both rooms are for residents and their families.

“We just encourage that they look for things to engage with their family member. To help bring back those happy thoughts and things that have occurred in the past,” Wiggins said.

While the sensory room is finished, Wiggins and Wood said this isn’t the end of anything. The sensory room is just one of other memory enhancing projects that’ll be developed to help residents.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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