As we get older, getting outside can become difficult, meaning we tend to miss out on a lot of the things we used to enjoy doing when we were younger.
But one group has been up and around Scotland helping elderly people with dementia relive some experiences from their past, letting them still enjoy all the fun of the outside from the comfort of their care home.
The Magic of ‘RemPods’
It’s done by making use of ‘RemPods’ – specialised pop-up pods that are designed with memorable surroundings and objects reflective of the various resident’s pasts.
The pods were made possible thanks to the Walk with Scott foundation – a non-profit organisation that raises money to help various communities in the East Lothian area of Scotland.
After noticing how many elderly people in dementia day care and residential care homes were unable to go outside often, the foundation decided to raise money to create a way to bring the outside to them, allowing several pods to be allocated in the surrounding area.
Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside
While the ‘Rempods’ are available in a variety of themes, the ones donated by the Walk with Scott Foundation were based around the theme of being at the seaside, with the overall aim of creating an indoor weeklong visit to the beach.
The pods contained everything needed to replicate a seaside scenario, including sand, deckchairs, seaside music, as well as specialised scent pods that replicate common smells, such as candy floss and the ocean.
Residents were also encouraged to dress in different seaside outfits each day to further encourage participation, with clothes from a different era available each day.
To top it all off, each day was accompanied with typical seaside cuisine, including fish and chips, as well as a fully-functioning ice cream van.
More Than Just a Day Out
Yet while the ‘RemPods’ allow residents to experience the outside, the potential benefits are so much more.
Many dementia residents in care homes often suffer from feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression, alongside the common symptom of memory loss.
‘Rempods’, much like other forms of reminiscence therapy, focus on trying to get people with dementia to remember positive events from their past.
This is done in order to combat memory loss, as well as providing happy memories which are thought to fight the negative effects that anxiety and depression can bring, as well as improve a person’s general well-being.
Fiona Mitchwell, head of the one the care homes in East Lothian, said that the pods have greatly helped combat the negative effects that dementia can bring.
“Eighty per cent of our service users have been diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer’s,” she said.
“The RemPods are great for early onset and advanced stages of dementia – even our friends without dementia thoroughly enjoyed them as it took them back to a happy place, to a memory that perhaps was forgotten”.