February 15, 2022
Sunshine Retirement Living, a family-owned senior housing company that offers a premiere living experience for its residents at more than 40 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities across the country, has successfully completed the installation of innovative “Sensory Spas” at each of its 23 memory care communities.
People with memory-related disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia have unique needs based on the progression of the disease. Therefore, it is critical to offer a variety of appropriate activities to prevent feelings of boredom and isolation that can lead to depression, frustration, anxiety, and an increased use of medications that can present unwanted side effects.
The Sensory Spas provide “sensory stimulation” with mood-boosting benefits that can also reduce behavioral challenges stemming from memory-related disease. Moreover, in a 60-day pilot program at Sunshine’s Copper Canyon Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Tucson, Arizona, antipsychotic use among residents dropped significantly including up to 70% of “PRN” medications that are administered on an as-needed basis.
“Recent medical research has found that sensory stimulation in Sensory Spa settings can decrease non-pharmacological interventions and help manage responsive behaviors among residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s,” said Luis Serrano, CEO, Sunshine Retirement Living. “With all this encouraging data, our company immediately tested a Sensory Spa program at one of our memory care communities and the positive outcomes were much more than we anticipated. With those results, we immediately began to install Sensory Spas at each of our memory care communities and today I’m delighted to report that we’ve completed the effort.”
Sunshine’s Sensory Spas provide a variety of sensory stimuli that work together to help improve cognitive, behavioral and communication issues by engaging all the five senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. The Sensory Spas include soothing sound machines to calm anxiety, mood-enhancing variable lighting, and virtual reality headsets with special software that offers a variety of virtual experiences that can help uncover memories and improve socialization. The dedicated rooms also include various seating options such as rocking chairs to encourage movement, aromatherapy and essential oils, large and pleasing wall murals, and multi-tactile materials and objects such as soft, heated and weighted blankets. Large wall monitors and TVs show various scenes to calm and promote past memories, such as travel or meditation videos.
The Sensory Spas are now part of Sunshine’s robust Life Enrichment Programs, which provide a customized approach to care provided by the company’s professional caregivers and include several types of beneficial therapies such as Pet Therapy, Music Therapy, Life Skills Stations and activities, and more.
“As dementia progresses, it can be very confusing and stressful for the person living with it,” said Mindy Podraza, director of clinical services, Sunshine Retirement Living. “Sunshine Retirement Living’s Sensory Spas provide a quiet environment where our residents can focus on pleasant sensory sensations that can help refocus that energy and decrease challenging behaviors. The spas also promote better communication between our residents and caregivers, and many times, our residents’ families will join them, which can also help with those connections.”
Sunshine Retirement Living’s memory care communities include:
Copper Canyon Assisted Living and Memory Care in Tucson
Magnolia Place Assisted Living and Memory Care in Rogers
Caleo Bay Assisted Living and Memory Care in La Quinta
Park View Estates Assisted Living and Memory Care in Fountain Valley
Belleview Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care in Aurora
Azalea Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Tallahassee
Marshall Pines Assisted Living and Memory Care in Evans
Heritage Point Assisted Living and Memory Care in Mishawaka
The Verandah Assisted Living and Memory Care in Lake Charles
Stone Valley Assisted Living and Memory Care in Reno
Juniper Glen Assisted Living and Memory Care in East Amherst
Cardinal Court Assisted Living and Memory Care in Strongsville
Central Parke Assisted Living and Memory Care in Mason
Sage Park Assisted Living and Memory Care in Gahanna
Windsor Heights Assisted Living and Memory Car in Beachwood
The Haven at North Hills Assisted Living and Memory Care in Pittsburgh
Whitetail Springs Assisted Living and Memory Care in Pittsburgh
Woodland Creek Assisted Living and Memory Care in Dresher
Ashley Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Charleston
Colonial Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in West Columbia
Quail Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bartlett
The Gardens at Brook Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care in Pharr
Lakewood Assisted Living and Memory Care in Brookfield