As featured on BBC Wales and BBC Radio Wales.
In partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University, Sunrise of Cardiff has successfully trialled a new device called HUG that has helped improve the mental wellbeing of residents with advanced dementia.
The HUG is a soft ‘cushion’ with a smiling head and long arms and legs. It can hug and be hugged and contains a box inside that mimics a beating heart, which results in the resident feeling calm and nurtured. The device can also play the favourite music of the individual wearing it. The purpose of the device is to help residents feel safe and improve their mental wellbeing. The trial has seen hugely positive results with a reduction in anxiety for residents using a HUG.
Alison Webb, the daughter of Sunrise resident Margaret who has been using the HUG, has said it ‘kind of brought her [mother] back again’ after seeing her ‘slipping further and further away’. Margaret, a hard-working, loving mother, was diagnosed with dementia ten years ago and Alison had started to see her condition worsen recently. However, once she started wearing the HUG, Alison has reported that a sense of recognition has returned and her mother has been much happier as a result.
Danny Langhorn, Memory Care Coordinator at Sunrise of Cardiff, said:
“The HUG is not intrusive to them, it's not a person... they're not feeling threatened. They're just able to sit there, listen and in their own time start feeling comfortable.”
Alison Webb, whose mother is using the HUG, said:
“I walked in and Mum was holding the HUG in the dining room and her face was just happy... almost serene and it was lovely. The icing on the cake was the music. All my mum's favourite songs are there - musicals, Elvis, Tom Jones, Abba.”
Jackie Pool, Director of Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living UK, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be seeing such tremendous benefits and it has been brilliant working with the Cardiff Metropolitan University team.”