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Sudbury dementia sufferers' stress eased by murals painted on doors

05/14/2015 08:50 EDT | Updated 05/14/2016 05:59 EDT
Residents with dementia at Finlandia nursing home in Sudbury are spending less time trying to escape after murals were painted on some of the doors.

Staff at the home say doors need to be locked for the safety of residents who sometimes forget where they are and try to leave. But, all those locked doors caused a lot of stress.

To help ease the anxiety, artists were hired to paint the doors with calming images that make residents feel more at home.

"We used to have a lot of people at the doors, banging the doors all day long to try to get out," said personal support worker Michael Rodda. "Since we've put the mural up, I've found that there's a lot less people hanging around that area trying to make the obvious exit."

The first mural was a painted bookshelf. It worked so well that others were painted on doors throughout the facility. The room where residents are bathed now features a mountain scene.

"It looks real, you know? It's beautiful," said resident Louise Mokohonuk. "They make me feel comfortable."

Now that the doors no longer look like doors, they're an opening for residents to think about something else, Rodda said.

"When you go by a mural and they'll look up and they'll check it out and they'll smile at it as opposed to nothing," he said. "I think it stimulates them."

Mokohonuk, an artist herself, said the murals are inspiring her to paint again.

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