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By Debbie le Quesne

Stepping back in time to help the present

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I’m terrible for TV channel hopping – may be it’s because I get bored too quickly, or perhaps television is not as good as what it used to be.

I caught a snippet of news about a care home where they’d built a 1950s street and then had to search the web to track down the details. Eventually Care Industry News came up trumps.

It’s a lovely story to help the week along when so much tragedy has been in the headlines.

The mock street has been created within the grounds of a care home in Winterbourne, near Bristol to provide a unique place where elderly residents can spend time and spark memories of their youth. 

Memory Lane is now open to residents of Blossom Fields, a luxury care home for the elderly and The Grove, specialist dementia care home next door.

Included in the street is a greengrocers, The Post Office with genuine George VI Post Box in the wall, the White Horse pub, a telephone box and a bus stop with a seat where people can relax.

Wow! This is serious investment into our elderly. The project is a way to help elderly and dementia sufferers remember the past, prompt conversation with visitors and care staff and provide a place where residents can go out safely, browse the shop windows or even go to sit in the pub.

 Christopher Taylor, Senior Manager of Grove Care, was reported as saying: “Rather than just sit in a garden most elderly people want to see something and go somewhere to keep their minds active. Memory Lane is a destination to make a walk around our grounds worthwhile.

 “Some of the people we care for ask staff if they can go out to the shops, the pub or to the bus. This will enable staff to allow them to get their coats on and go down to Memory Lane. It is a safe environment for them.

 “For our other elderly people it is a place they can go with their families. We are filling the street with 1950s memorabilia. So there will be ration books, old newspapers, shop window displays, posters and groceries that will all create interest and prompt conversations and memories.

 “Although care homes have created 1950s rooms in the past for dementia patients we do not know of any other street like this. We have had great fun collecting the items for the street and we are still looking for items to keep the interest of our residents and welcome donations of 1950s ephemera that will fit into the street.”

 The feature includes:

The White Horse Pub: Etched glass doors and windows into “The Snug” where an old beer pump, bar stools and beer mats bring back the authentic 1950s drinking den (Why can I remember this? I’m not that old!).

Martin McCarthy, father of Grove Care directors Sarah McCarthy Taylor and Fiona Jarman, who had the original idea for memory Lane, is honoured at the pub by being named as “licensee”.

The Post Office: Outside residents can put letters in the genuine George VI Post Box and inside they can see ration books and memories of the 1950s, they can read 1950s newspapers and just along the road there is a phone box they can stand in with handset.

Greengrocers: Complete with its delivery bicycle parked outside the greengrocers features 1950s milk crate, postcards for sale and fruit and veg and a chocolate vending machine on the outside wall.

The Bus Stop: A comfortable seat and bus stop with 1950s poster advertising a cowboy film where residents and relatives can relax and watch the world go by.

Blossom Fields provides nursing, end of life care and support for dementia patients. The Grove is a specialist dementia care home.

This tale has so cheered me. It’s heartening to know that someone sees care for the elderly a worthy investment. I cannot help feel sad though, that many of our elderly have not got the kind of wealth to buy into this kind of excellence.

But I would hope the Government could take a leaf out of this very worthy book.

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Written by debbielq

September 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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