The ‘Small Home’ Environment

Research has shown that people with dementia respond positively to surroundings that are relaxed, homely, easy to navigate and spacious.

For this reason, all our dementia residential care facilities are subdivided into smaller homes. An average of approximately ten residents live in each home. This encourages relaxed social interactions in small groups, and enables care staff and diversional therapists to provide more individualized care.

The living area of each home is laid out in keeping with NZ house design, open plan in nature with the lounge, dining room and a kitchen area all visually connected and within easy access.

Residents have free access to the kitchen area, which gives opportunity for familiar homely tasks such as washing and drying dishes or sweeping the floor. Kitchen hazards, such as boiling water from a Zip, are hidden. Diversional Therapy staff use these kitchen areas for cooking and baking activities involving the residents, and the homes are often full of the familiar and welcoming smell of fresh baking.

Each home opens onto a garden. The grounds are self-contained and secure, with residents enjoying free access from internal areas to the gardens. They are able to wander at will, sitting on benches to enjoy the sunshine, listening to birdsong, raking leaves or watering the garden. Paths can lead to a different home, which gives the feeling of ‘visiting a neighbour’.

A significant reduction in stress, anxiety and behaviours of concern has occurred as a result of our Small Homes policy.