Dementia patients are able to recover memories they have lost because their care home has been painted to look like a high street from the 1940s and 50s.
The hallways in the De Baliol Care Home in Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland, have been transformed to look much like the area that many of its residents grew up in.
Staff hope the recognisable features of old-fashioned shop fronts and sea views through ‘windows’ could trigger memories for the residents with dementia.
Administrator Sylvia Richardson said: ‘We wanted to create and atmosphere that would stimulate memories of the local area of yesterday and today.
‘We involved all the residents and the staff – but almost all the work has been done by Chris Brosnan, our maintenance man, with the murals for doors and walls done by Premier Graphics, from Blyth.
‘The fantastic photos were taken by Robert Miller, from Stakeford, and enlarged to create a local scene.’
Mr Brosnan said he was ‘let loose’ to paint the hallways.
‘The idea, for people with dementia, is to bring memories back, to create a street which looks the way things did when they were younger,’ he explained.
‘We included the views of the beach because a lot of people will have spent time there, so it’s about trying to jog some happy memories.’
The idea has been successfully tested in other care homes and NHS hospitals across the UK.
But it’s not just the happy memories that will benefit residents – the paintings are also said to have a calming and ‘homely’ effect.
‘I’ve been working here for about four years, and it doesn’t feel like a nursing home, it feels like a family,’ said care home manager Judith Brown.
‘This really adds to that, it’s something we all worked on. We’ve got lovely grounds outside too, so there’s lots for people to enjoy.’