New home for Alzheimer sufferers opens

A LARGE new home for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia has opened at the former Bentwaters air base near Woodbridge.

Richard Smith

A LARGE new home for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia has opened at the former Bentwaters air base near Woodbridge.

The Colchester-based Caring Homes Group has built a 60-bed home offering specialist care for residents with 35 beds for dementia sufferers and 25 beds for frail elderly people.

The home opened in November and the first residents are settling in before an official opening on January 23 by Kaye Adams, UNICEF's UK ambassador for Scotland.


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William Edgell, 82, is one of the first residents. He has been married to Edith for 61 years and she lives a 10-minute walk from the home.

Mrs Edgell said: ''I prayed very, very hard for him to come here and I am more than pleased with the home.''

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New jobs have been provided for mainly local people and extra jobs will be created as the home takes in more residents.

Jan James, the home manager, said: ''The majority of our staff team live very close by and we are establishing close links with the community.

''We recognise that the move to a care home can be a very traumatic experience for both the prospective resident, their family and friends. By caring for individuals in such a well-designed environment, we aim to allay many anxieties.

''There are lots of thoughtful features that make life easier for people with dementia. The automatic lighting system in each bedroom lights up at night to guide one to the bathroom, to prevent trips and falls.

''Outside each room there is a memory box, a glass fronted box with lights behind to display treasured items. This helps the person with dementia to recognise their room.”

She added: ''Generally, people are living longer and this has led to a higher incidence of dementia. Most of the referrals do come from the local area but we have had them from London.''

Emma Charlton, marketing director of the Caring Homes Group, said: ''The features of this unique care centre are designed to reduce stress, anxiety and frustration often experienced by those with dementia illness.

''Rendlesham supports the company's caring ethos of improving the quality of life and this is exampled by the flowing corridors, memory boxes at each resident's bedroom door and lots of visual triggers to reduce frustration through disorientation.''

The sensory gardens have been designed by the horticultural dementia specialist, Garuth Chalfont, who said they were designed to help the residents feel happier by stimulating their senses.

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