Snoezelen Rooms and Sensory Environments for Dementia Care

Snoezelen Rooms and Sensory Environments for Dementia Care

Categories: Activities Articles Sensory Dementia

People living with dementia can benefit greatly from exposure to soothing and sensory environments.
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People living with dementia can benefit greatly from exposure to soothing and sensory environments.

'Snoezlen Rooms' were developed for this purpose in the 1970s and have become popular worldwide.

A Snoezlen Room is a room that has been setup to stimulate the senses and often includes things like coloured lights, soothing music, calming aromas, interesting textures (bean bags, soft toys) and gentle movement (lava lamps, projected images etc). To goal is to provide stimulation in a calming atmosphere.

However, based on the notion that our world is a blend of smells, tastes, sound and palpable experiences, why not endeavour to extend the sensory experience beyond the limits of a single room? The idea then would be to enhance the whole environment and make it a place where sensory care is revealed in the walls, doors, garden, bathrooms and corridors.

For the patient, an extended sensory environment could provide many benefits and a variety of meaningful activities to assist in re-directing anger and all sorts of unacceptable behaviours.

Here are a few suggestions to enhance the environment of your facility:

    * Water fountains
    * Scented flowers and bushes in the garden
    * Brightly decorated walls and corridors
    * Fragrant pot-pourris
    * Classic music in bathrooms
    * Fish tank

Do you have a sensory room at your facility? What has worked well for your clients & what differences in mood and behaviour have you noticed?

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Jemma 20th Sep 2016
Some fabulous ideas here. Any suggestions on how to get nursing home on board with a sensory room?
Talita 25th Sep 2016
Great question Jemma. There are also some threads regarding this on our Facebook Group page if you wanted to take a look or ask the group directly:

Solange 25th May 2015
Hi Julie, lava lamps can be bought on this link:
They cost approximately $30 plus shipping; about $10 dollars. Gumtree and EBay sell them too. Beware of second-hand lamps; it is not recommended for aged care facilities.
Julie 25th May 2015
Hi, we are looking to create a Sensory room & are having trouble finding out where to purchase lava (& similar) lamps. We are in the Gippsland region. Any suggestions would be welcome. :)
Susan 3rd Apr 2014
We have a Sensory Room
the sign on the door was made by a resident using colors and sparkles.
Be careful when selecting a resident for the room as not everyone likes the movement of lights particularly the ball hanging from the ceiling .
also it is best to gradually introduce one thing at a time so as not to confuse even more.
They are great though and hopefully we will use it more often once it is within main unit.
MARYANN 22nd Feb 2014
Use a portable trolley as a Sensory Trolley too
Maurice 4th Feb 2014
Hi Wendy,

Great idea. I saw an amazing video a few years ago of the second largest aquarium in the world in Japan, there is a great 28 minute video on YouTube with soothing music:

If you have a large TV with internet access it might be a very nice event. The video is almost meditative.
WENDY 4th Feb 2014
Hi everyone,
I work in a dementia assessment unit and due to the clients BPSD's we cannot accommodate a real aquarium but I've found the next best thing; a looped DVD of an aquarium with the air bubble sound effects. It is very soothing and the patients thoroughly enjoy watching it...Some for hours
Noelene 27th Sep 2013
Hi Shelly, The new Villa Maria home on Stud Road in Wantirna has a new Sensory room. Regards, Chris
Annette 23rd Aug 2013
Hi Shelly, i worked in a facility as a nurse at the time the AO in dementia unit was very creative and she put together a sensory room. I didn't really know at the time why she did it, however now i'm an AO in a different facility and a student reading about this gives me more understanding. The room looked fabulous, but the nurses didn't really use it much, i believe that the nursing staff need to come on board with the changes AO impliments, and help with working together to make the change with the environment. I think a sensory room is useful and can help residents only if the nursing staff work it to.
Lorraine 14th Jul 2013
This room sounds great, any idea's on what to substitute for the fragrant aromas for hayfever & asthma sufferers?
Shelly 14th Jun 2013
Hi All - I would be glad if someone could advise me of an organisation that has an operational multi-sensory room or similar specifically for clients with Dementia?
Damien 23rd Jan 2013
The main issue for our centre is our policy is with aromatherapy, where we require a cert 3 in order to conduct the therapy within the centre. Is there any alternative?
Solange 23rd Jan 2013
Hi Damian, the Institute of Technology run various courses in natural therapy including Aromatherapy. The Certificate IV in Aromatherapy runs for 36 weeks full time or 74 weeks part time. I don't believe there is a Cert. III in Aromatherapy.
Solange 10th Oct 2012
Thank you for the information Joanne. I didn't know the word 'Snoezlen' was copyrighted.
Joanne 10th Oct 2012
Just be aware not to use the word Snoezlen on your program as it's copyrighted. We used Sensory room...worked well, until the room was needed again for other reasons. You can get some of the items quite cheaply on ebay or in the two-dollar shops, battery operated too are better saves the need for power points; also hand held soft and unusual objects enhance the use of touch. Enjoy it as much as the resident.
Marilyn 9th Oct 2012
Clutter is my problem at home. The above suggestions are good ideas to replace the clutter with. Rotating new items would help us to keep the environment varied. I think I will soon be loving your website. Thank you so much. ♥


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