Street from 1950s triggers memories for dementia patients at Winterbourne care home

Gazette Series: Chris Stacey, one of the team that built the street Chris Stacey, one of the team that built the street

A MOCK 1950s street is helping to rake up the past for dementia patients at a Winterbourne care home.

Memory Lane has been created for residents of Blossom Fields, on the High Street, and The Grove, a specialist dementia care home next door.

Although historic rooms have been set up at care homes before, it is believed the street, which features an authentic bus stop, period telephone box, traditional greengrocers and post-war Post Office, is the first of its kind.

Christopher Taylor, senior manager of Grove Care which runs Blossom Fields and The Grove, said: "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."

He said staff at the family-run business had tirelessly sourced authentic items to be displayed inside the shops. "We are filling the street with 1950s memorabilia," said Mr Taylor. "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."

It is hoped Memory Lane will encourage elderly residents to get out and about more and that seeing familiar items from their youth will trigger memories for dementia patients and spark conversations for those who have become reclusive in later years.

The street's post office features a genuine George VI postbox in the wall, the White Horse pub has a snug and old beer pump and the greengrocers is complete with a delivery bicycle parked outside, a 1950s milk crate, postcards for sale and a chocolate vending machine on the outside wall.

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