WHILE the skies may be grey and rain falling outside, for residents at one Somerset care home, it is always beach time.

La Fontana care home, in Martock, has installed a new sun therapy room - complete with ice cream cart, beach scene and more, for those missing long, sunny days of summer.

Sun seeking residents can head off to their own private beach, gaze out at the seaside panorama, sit in comfort in nautical armchairs, view the colourful beach huts and taste a delicious ice cream.

The large glass doors open onto the safe outdoor area that also follows the same theme with sand coloured flooring and a boat in ‘water’, complete with fishing equipment.

Most significant, however, is that the room features an innovative sunlight stimulation lamp.

The lamp works by simulating sunshine and tropical temperatures without the harmful UV rays.

Residents and their visitors can spend some time enjoying simulated natural sunlight even during the darkest days of winter.

As well as provoking fond memories, the sun therapy room can increase residents’ energy levels and sense of well-being.

An activities assistant at the home said: "We can’t always go out with some of the residents, so to be able to have their very own beach inside the home, is wonderful.

"The sunroom gets the residents interacting and smiling; it’s always lovely to hear their memories of holidays and experiences abroad.

"And a brilliant way to relax, especially during these dark and cold months."

The sunlight can also prove beneficial for those who have joint pains, stiffness, rheumatism and muscle aches as well as combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

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