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How haircuts and cake are helping dementia patients reconnect

Patients enjoy attending the tearoom Credit: ITV Wales

A hospital in Swansea has opened its own hair salon and tea room to try to reconnect patients with their past.

Dementia is a condition which affects more than 40,000 people in Wales. It leads to people failing to recognise their own family members and unable to look after themselves.

But staff at the Cefn Coed Hospital say new facilities have helped improve their patients symptoms, which can often be complex.

Credit: ITV Wales

"Everybody who has dementia will have a different form of it. It affects people in different ways.

"Generally it will come to the stage where patients won't be able to meet their personal needs.

"They don't know who their children are anymore. They don't know who their husbands or wives are.

"They don't realise the year they're in now. They generally revert back to when they were younger," said Ward Manager Helen Hall.

Credit: ITV Wales

Earlier this year the team converted a spare reception room into a fully functioning hairdressers and tea room on the all-female ward. Patients can now bake cakes and make sandwiches, much like they used to do for their families decades ago.

Credit: ITV Wales

Lined up in the tea room are magazines which date back to 1977. One of the patients Elaine Vice said, "It reminds of my youth. When my mother and father used to have the family home for Christmas and they all spoiled me because I was the youngest one there."

"With dementia I struggle to remember. Now I"m on the way if you understand. I making the most with what I've got left."

Elaine understands her Dementia more than most. But nurses on the ward say, since the salon and tea room opened, there has been a drop in the number of falls and less reliance on medication for anxiety and panic.

Sometimes, it seems, a cup of tea and piece of cake is the best medicine of all.