Published: Nov 14, 2011 6:17 PM EST
Updated: Nov 14, 2011 10:55 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A type of therapy that's long been a hit in Europe, is now being used in Lee County.

It's called a Snoezelen Room and it's designed to help people living with a range of memory related disorders.

"It's a real cutting edge kind of therapy that deals with those specific people that has alzheimer's or dementia," said Jay Groesser, the healthcare administrator at Cypress Cove, a senior living community at HealthPark Florida.

The Snoezelen Room is designed to both soothe and stimulate, while helping those suffering from a range of disorders. The controlled multi-sensory environment is designed to both calm and engage patients as they cope with the changes aging may bring.

Snoezelen rooms got their start in the Netherlands in the 1970s.

There are some in Florida, but the one at Cypress Cove is one of the first in Lee County to use this type of technology aimed at seniors with memory related disorders. The room incorporates bubble tubes, fiber optic strands, music and aromatherapy.

"The first visit is discovery and we find out what works for that resident," Groesser explained. "The 2nd and 3rd follow up visit we will use what worked in that first visit to either stimulate or calm that resident."
The room at Cypress Cove was made possible thanks to the generosity of private donors and a grant from the Southwest Florida community foundation. It cost about $30,000 to plan and create.

"It was really a dream that's come true through a combined efforts of a lot of people," said Tim Ficker, the Executive Director at Cypress Cove. "I'm very proud."

The Snoezelen room will open to residents this Wednesday. The plan is to make it available to the community at large in the coming weeks.

The room at Cypress Cove is geared toward seniors, but the rooms have been used elsewhere with positive outcomes for children on the autism spectrum.