BRAND new facilities for people living with dementia have been opened in memory of a former resident.

Joyce Beedham lived in the older women's unit at The Retreat for the last seven years of her life before she passed away last year at the age of 92.

In recognition of the exceptional care she received, her daughters Judy Emsley and Sue Campion have helped fund the decoration and furnishings for a new dementia friendly lounge and a sensory room for the women living in the unit.

Everything about the lounge has been carefully thought out, from the colour scheme - which helps to visually emphasise the layout of the room - to the furnishings and more old fashioned items including light shades, lamps and a radio.

Meanwhile, a sensory room has been set up next door to create a relaxing environment with lights and music.

Judy and Sue said: "Our dear mum, Joyce Beedham was a highly intelligent, kind, lovely person. The best mother possible. It was her misfortune to be struck down by Alzheimer's and to live with this devastating disease for the last 32 years of her life.

"As a family, we cared for her at home for as long as possible but for the last seven years this was just not possible and she had to have 24 hour care.

"An autopsy has shown that when mum died, 56 per cent of her brain had been destroyed by this horrific illness. It takes skilled, dedicated, caring and consistent staff to deal with such a situation. This is what we found at The Retreat. Literally, nowhere else could deal with mum.

"We will be forever grateful to the very special staff of Katherine Allen ward for being there for mum and recognise what an important institution the Retreat is that it has the capability of dealing with severe illness."

The older women's unit is celebrating after recently passing its accreditation with the Royal College of Psychiatry.

Verity Hill, who works in the unit and is part of a Dementia Action Group set up to support people with dementia, said: "We have had a really positive reaction, we have had ladies in here who have never been in here before."