Jane’s Place: New room helps create ‘moments of happiness’

“This room is a blessing.”

That was the view of Crystal Hughes on a newly completed Sensory Lounge room at Jane’s Place Adult Day Services in Davenport.

Jane's Place
A ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, July 21, celebrated the opening of a Sensory Lounge at Jane’s Place in Davenport. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

That room, unveiled during ceremonies on Thursday, July 21, has the goal of helping improve the quality of life of people suffering from forms of dementia and other impairments.

“It will help awaken senses. It will help people recall memories,” said Ms. Hughes, the program administrator at Jane’s Place. The facility is a department of the Center for Active Seniors, Inc. (CASI) and is located in CASI’s building at 1035 W. Kimberly Road.

Dozens of guests attended a Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony and public open house Thursday to showcase the Sensory Lounge, which was scheduled to begin helping Jane’s Place clients today, July 22.

Jane's Place
Alex Puthoff, 14, of Bettendorf, helped lead the creation of the Sensory Lounge at Jane’s Place as part of his Eagle Scout project. DAVE THOMPSON

But the Sensory Lounge wasn’t created overnight. It took a lot of work, especially from a young Boy Scout. The room was largely created as an Eagle Scout project by Alex Puthoff, 14, a Boy Scout with Troop 199, Bettendorf. He is the son of Mike and Diane Puthoff.

During the open house events, the young scout outlined the many jobs he did to create the room. Some of that work included building a bench, a wall sensory panel, painting and other projects. In all, the project took 168 work hours, which he tracked for his Eagle Scout project.

It also got help from some local businesses. Materials for the room project were donated by K&K Hardware of Bettendorf and the Eldridge Lumberyard.

“It was fun to see it all come together, especially when we were painting and building things,” Alex said. 

Mrs. Hughes thanked him for his work and presented him with a gift basket during the event.

During the open house, visitors got the chance to look over the Sensory Lounge, which is described as a multi-sensory room that has items in it that may stimulate the nervous system by engaging the senses and create “moments of happiness for those facing devastating illnesses,” according to information at Jane’s Place.

Every part of the light blue room seems to be designed to engage all the senses. Several people looking over the room commented that they discovered a new object or feature with every turn or visit. Here are some of those Sensory Lounge features: 

  • One wall has a sensory wall panel with a piece of rectangular art containing 15 smaller squares within the panel. Each square contains different materials that are meant to be touched including: felt, cloth, crayons and wood. 
  • Near the front door is a wooden container holding eight green plastic buckets. Each bucket holds various materials to hold and touch such as yarn, cork and small, furry toy animals.
  • The room also is filled with sounds from an audio system. During the Thursday tour, those sounds were of nature, including crickets and frogs.
  • The room has pleasant smells from essential oils.
  • There are also plants, chairs, a bench and a windchime in the room.

Ms. Hughes added that creating the room has been one of her long-term goals because it will help the mission of Jane’s Place. The adult day center is designed for adults living with brain injuries, intellectual disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The center offers a home-like environment with therapeutic activities, meals, care plans and monitoring by a trained staff.

Previously, the Sensory Lounge was a multi-purpose room, Ms. Hughes said, adding it was used as a den, storage space, staff room, exercise room and several other uses.

The Jane’s Place official added that she hopes the new room will bring some moments of happiness to the many people who use the day center. The center serves about 10 to 15 people a day, and has the capacity to serve up to 40 people a day.

“In the dementia world, anxiety and fear are common. … This room will give them positive stimulation,” she added.

For more information on Jane’s Place, go to casiseniors.org.

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