Sunshine Retirement Living Installs Innovative Sensory Spas at All U.S. Memory Care Communities
Early Results Include a Significant Reduction in the Need for Antipsychotic Medications for Residents with Memory-Related Diseases
BEND, Ore. (Feb. 15, 2022) –Sunshine Retirement Living, a family-owned senior housing company that offers a premiere living experience for its residents at more than 40 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities across the country, has successfully completed the installation of innovative “Sensory Spas” at each of its 23 memory care communities.
People with memory-related disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia have unique needs based on the progression of the disease. Therefore, it is critical to offer a variety of appropriate activities to prevent feelings of boredom and isolation that can lead to depression, frustration, anxiety, and an increased use of medications that can present unwanted side effects.
The Sensory Spas provide “sensory stimulation” with mood-boosting benefits that can also reduce behavioral challenges stemming from memory-related disease. Moreover, in a 60-day pilot program at Sunshine’s Copper Canyon Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Tucson, Arizona, antipsychotic use among residents dropped significantly including up to 70% of “PRN” medications that are administered on an as-needed basis.
“Recent medical research has found that sensory stimulation in Sensory Spa settings can decrease non-pharmacological interventions and help manage responsive behaviors among residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s,” said Luis Serrano, CEO, Sunshine Retirement Living. “With all this encouraging data, our company immediately tested a Sensory Spa program at one of our memory care communities and the positive outcomes were much more than we anticipated. With those results, we immediately began to install Sensory Spas at each of our memory care communities and today I’m delighted to report that we’ve completed the effort.”
Sunshine’s Sensory Spas provide a variety of sensory stimuli that work together to help improve cognitive, behavioral and communication issues by engaging all the five senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. The Sensory Spas include soothing sound machines to calm anxiety, mood-enhancing variable lighting, and virtual reality headsets with special software that offers a variety of virtual experiences that can help uncover memories and improve socialization. The dedicated rooms also include various seating options such as rocking chairs to encourage movement, aromatherapy and essential oils, large and pleasing wall murals, and multi-tactile materials and objects such as soft, heated and weighted blankets. Large wall monitors and TVs show various scenes to calm and promote past memories, such as travel or meditation videos.
The Sensory Spas are now part of Sunshine’s robust Life Enrichment Programs, which provide a customized approach to care provided by the company’s professional caregivers and include several types of beneficial therapies such as Pet Therapy, Music Therapy, Life Skills Stations and activities, and more.
“As dementia progresses, it can be very confusing and stressful for the person living with it,” said Mindy Podraza, director of clinical services, Sunshine Retirement Living. “Sunshine Retirement Living’s Sensory Spas provide a quiet environment where our residents can focus on pleasant sensory sensations that can help refocus that energy and decrease challenging behaviors. The spas also promote better communication between our residents and caregivers, and many times, our residents’ families will join them, which can also help with those connections.”
Sunshine Retirement Living’s memory care communities include:
Family-owned Sunshine Retirement Living was founded in 2007 and today operates approximately 4,000 senior units across its more than 40 communities in 18 states. The company focuses entirely on offering premier independent, transitional assisted living and memory care options for the middle-market senior, a demographic that will see significant growth in the years ahead. In fact, by 2050, it is estimated that the number of people aged 65 or older in the U.S. will grow to nearly 90 million as compared to 54 million in 2019. Seniors aged 85 or more will reach 19 million in 2050, approximately a 20-fold increase over 2021.
With more than 20 years in the senior housing industry, Sunshine Retirement Living’s mission is to be the preferred senior living provider offering value, choice and independence while promoting health and social interaction that exceeds residents’ expectations and enriches the lives of both residents and staff. By providing meals, housekeeping, activities, transportation, utilities and in-house management staff, Sunshine Retirement Living continues to build an unparalleled community feeling in each property. For more information, visit www.SunshineRet.com or connect socially.