Imagine your loved one in an environment where everything has been placed and designed to tantalize the senses: a Snoezelen therapy room.
The word “snoezelen” comes from “snuffeln” (to sniff) and “doezelen” (to snooze).
Your mother or father can hear delightful music, smell wonderful fragrances, feel soft textures, and taste your favorite foods.
What is Snoezelen Therapy?
Snoezelen therapy involves use of an environment, typically a room that has been equipped with items that invite participants to engage their senses at their own pace. The goal is to both stimulate the senses by invoking memories and interest while also have a relaxing, calming effect on the individuals that allows them to feel safe and comfortable. According to the International Snoezelen Association, the approach “induces wellbeing” and provides a “calm atmosphere” where “fear will be taken away.”
Snoezelen was developed in the 1970s in the Netherlands as a way to care for severely disabled people living in institutions. Today Snoezelen is used for the same original purpose and also for individuals living in nursing facilities (especially those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia) and for children and others with autism or behavioral disorders.
Proponents of Snoezelen therapy are not stopping there; they are exploring the use of this healing approach for individuals with brain injury, cerebral palsy, communications disorders, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and children with various disabilities.
Snoezelen At Work
Currently, there are approximately 1,200 Snoezelen rooms in North America, according to the company (FlagHouse) providing equipment for the rooms, such as special fiber optic bubble tubes, revolving lights, soft swings and rockers, projection equipment, soft artwork, and aromatherapy. However, facilities and individuals can create their own Snoezelen rooms without investing in expensive equipment if they work with a mental health professional to choose the best items for the room.
In Mitchell, Ont., Canada, the Ritz Lutheran Villa has a Snoezelen room for residents with dementia. The room sports a giant lighted bubble tube that is surrounded by mirrors, shades where pastel designs can be projected, a box containing various materials that are pleasing to the touch, and a fiber optic light spray that invites people to touch it.
According to RPN Liz Garant, the goal of the room is to “get them [residents] here before the behaviors start.” Behaviors such as agitation and aggression, which appear among some people with dementias. Use of Snoezelen rooms can help reduce the need for antianxiety medications.
You can get more information about Snoezelen rooms at this website. http://www.snoezeleninfo.com/main.asp
Photo Credit: akvacare