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Innovative dementia care project now ready for residents (7 photos)

IOOF Seniors Home Inc. renovated secure dementia ward to add murals, colours and sensory experiences proven to improve patient and staff well-being

The grand re-opening of Kempenfelt Court at IOOF Seniors Home in Barrie came with a lot of smiles and a few tears.

On Friday, the ribbon was cut on the dementia and Alzheimer’s wing of the facility, which has recently been renovated to add elements in-line with an initiative called the Butterfly Project, which incorporates murals of places that will be familiar to residents, including one of the Allandale Train Station, the Spirit Catcher and the Imperial Movie Theatre.

When speaking prior to the ribbon-cutting, Ashley Frenette, assistant director of resident care got emotional speaking about the project and the impact it will make on residents.

“I’m clearly very passionate about this,” Frenette said with a laugh. “When we think of the word ‘home,’ we think of comfort, we think of family and we think of love... We’re here creating our own Butterfly Project.”

While the Butterfly Project first made its way from the United Kingdom to Ontario as a pilot project in Peel Region in 2017, IOOF Seniors Home is the first long-term care home in Simcoe County to implement the ideas into their facility.

The ward transitions from murals of the city to murals of calming country scenes in the fall, spring and summer. The colour choices were made deliberately to signal to residents when they’re entering or leaving certain areas.

The project re-invents the aesthetic of secure wings by adding comforting and happy scenes to the walls, colours and sensory experiences all designed to instill a sense of calm for the residents, as well as the staff who work there.

Through a multitude of studies, the colours and themes chosen can improve mood and appetite of dementia patients.

The funding for the murals came from a donation in memory of the Murleys.

“My mother was on this floor from 2010 to 2013, when she passed away. My dad was upstairs in Georgian Way. He passed away in January of this year,” said Sandie Collins, daughter of the Murleys, who was on hand for the ribbon cutting.

When Collins’ mother passed away, the Murley family donated funding for patient care at IOOF. The money went toward the building of accessible tables for the dining hall that can accommodate wheelchairs.

“Our mother was in a wheelchair and it was always difficult for her to eat because the tables only came so far,” said Collins. “When my father passed away in January, it was the same thing. We wanted to donate money as a family for resident care.”

Collins says that when the IOOF approached the Murleys with the idea to encorporate the Butterfly Project into Kempefelt Court, it fit perfectly with what they were looking to do.

“My mother had dementia and Alzheimers. She would have loved this,” said Collins. “I had seen this project on Facebook and I thought it would have been a great thing for my mom, should she still be alive to see this.”

“They would be very happy to know that their money was used for this,” Collins said through tears.


Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings nine years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering county matters, court, Collingwood and Barrie matters
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