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West Wales care home residents benefit from Cardiff Met dementia research project



Elaine​ and Bill Willmott 

Researchers from Cardiff Metropolitan University recently handed over unique, handmade textiles to people with late stage dementia at a care home in Llanelli.

Professor Cathy Treadaway and her colleagues from the Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design (CARIAD) dementia research team presented the results of their Sensor e-Textile project to residents at a tea party at Gwalia's Mynydd Mawr care home in Upper Tumble.

Working together with Grwp Gwalia Cyf, Dementia Positive and Age Cymru the Sensor e-Textile has embedded electronics within tactile textile items to make innovative yet simple garments that comfort, soothe, engage and stimulate people with late stage dementia.

Prof Treadaway and her team handed over a range of garments and knee rugs each designed for a specific resident based on their personal preferences and life stories. The colourful and tactile textiles were designed to stimulate the senses, providing 'in the moment' pleasure to comfort, engage and distract people with late stage dementia.

A number of the textiles contained added electronics providing additional sensory qualities such as vibration and sound – for example a touch sensitive blanket that plays birdsong and other sounds related to walking in the countryside.

Speaking about the textiles, Prof Cathy Treadaway said:

"It was very satisfying to be able to hand over the textiles we have been making over the last few months to the residents with dementia and their families at Gwalia Mynydd Mawr.

"We are grateful to everyone involved who has helped make this project such a success – we have seen contributions from a range of experts including occupational therapists, carers, older people, designers, technologists, and computer scientists.

"People with dementia are often considered to be difficult to care for, and consequently can be some of the most neglected and marginalised members of society  - the Sensor e-Texile project therefore aims to promote positive emotion and support the wellbeing of these individuals."