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Mrs Wylie finds her happy place
Inverclyde's first dementia friendly housing in Port Glasgow
18 May 2022
This is Dementia Awareness Week and one River Clyde Homes (RCH) tenant wanted to tell a touching story of how moving into a dementia friendly apartment has changed her life.
Helen Wylie, 73, is delighted with her spacious home, one of 24 dementia friendly flats that form part of a £34m, 224 home, new build development on the site of the former St Stephen's High School in Port Glasgow.
Helen, a great grandmother, says she’s been given a new lease of life.
As well as has a string of health issues, including COPD and mobility problems, Helen is showing early signs of dementia. So her family was pleased when the opportunity arose to move from a high rise block in the town centre to this purpose-built flat more suitable for her needs.
Each of the new homes includes innovative details to support people living with early onset dementia, such as colour contrasting floors and walls on each landing, and an individually coloured flat entrance door for residents to more easily identify their own home.
The interiors have been carefully designed to include kitchens with clear storage unit doors, visually identifiable hot and cold taps and bathrooms with recognisable features such as toilet seats in a contrasting colour to the rest of the room.
All of the new homes are in close proximity to a sensory garden that provides access to an outdoor area to improve residents’ wellbeing.
Helen, a retired chef, said: "I love it, it's so spacious.
"I have two bedrooms, so there’s a spare room where I can keep medical equipment and for when my son stays over.
"I now have a new family member too. My son got me a rescue cat kitten I’ve named Cheeky - she is the best company I could have."
Helen says it is frustrating when she forgets things.
She said: "Sometimes I get angry with myself when I can't remember."
Her son, Tom McKee, told how his mum moved from a house in Greenock to a high-rise apartment after his step-dad Alan passed away.
Tom, said: "She started feeling claustrophobic in the high flat and when River Clyde Homes got in touch, saying they were building dementia-friendly flats - it was a no brainer.
"It has given my mum a new lease of life. I feel more content now as she has everything she needs.
"It's warm and modern, she is very comfortable here."
Helen has fantastic views over the Clyde Estuary from her bedroom which has built-in wardrobes. Other adaptations in the flat include waist-high switches and a walk-in shower.
Helen concluded: "As soon as I opened the front door I thought, ‘This is for me. I’ve found my happy place’."