Sensory sensation is a success at The Heathers

October 17, 2017

Ray is a 64 year old gentleman who has Down’s Syndrome and dementia and has lived at The Heathers for the last seven years. The Heathers is our residential service for individuals with learning disabilities and complex needs, including mental health issues and dementia. Split across two semi-detached houses, The Heathers offers spacious accommodation in a friendly, welcoming setting.

Ray has recently been on quite a journey with his dementia and unfortunately now finds himself unable to access his local community or the rest of the house for activities. So, in order to maintain his wellbeing and ensure that he remains active with the help of stimulation, colleagues supporting Ray have tried many different things.

One day his niece brought in a sensory blanket which was designed with children in mind, but it felt nice, had tags and labels on that Ray liked to feel and twirl between his fingers. Ray already liked the feel of buttons on his t-shirt and enjoys tracing the lines on his duvet cover mimicking writing, this came from the days when Ray had assisted in the homes office with the manager Chris and writing out the rotas and menus.

Colleagues noted Ray’s enjoyment and had the idea to combine all these things onto one big sensory blanket. They made enquiries through different methods and discovered an advert on Facebook for a lady who runs a small local business. The lady spent a great deal of time talking to support colleagues about what Ray likes, the patterns, the colours and the different sensations that he enjoys. The whole blanket took in total three months to put together and incorporates heavy duty stitching to avoid things breaking, a number of wonderful patterns and sensory stimulants. The blanket is also heavy, that when it lays on Ray, it gives him a feeling of security and makes him comfortable and safe.

Pictured is the finished article. The blanket is the length of his bed and the team regularly turn it around whilst Ray is alert, encouraging him with varied stimulus to look at. Ray likes to feel and turn different parts and sections, which allow him to interact with different things, whilst the repetitiveness of what he does tends to reduce his anxiety and provides him with a sense of calm as he repeats the motion.

Following completion of this wonderful blanket the local business that made it has since started new blankets for other individuals in a similar situation to Ray and has expanded their range to accommodate for these needs. This was a real success for Ray and the team as they sought to brighten his day as much as possible.

View homes related to this news story