An aged care facility with a built in ‘Main Street’ – complete with cafe, cinema, beauty salon and more – is providing comfort and joy to residents.

‘Main Street’ enables residents to continue taking part in the activities they enjoy most, whether it be playing cards, having their hair and nails done, catching a classic movie, or simply chatting over a meal with friends.

‘Main Street’ is a feature at two Cincinnati, Ohio, nursing homes in the US – Doverwood Village and Chesterwood Village – both part of the Hillandale Family of Communities.

Each ‘Main Street’ has a variety of options that residents can choose from.

For example, the street has a hair salon, O’Smyley’s Pub, JimE’s Uptown Cafe, a cinema, pet shop, ice-cream parlour, chapel, gym, games room and ‘fine dining’ restaurant.

Live concerts are also held on ‘Main Street’, meaning residents can enjoy listening to live music. Boogie Woogie from the 1950s and 60s and Elvis are favourites!

While there’s no cure, dementia care focuses on quality of life

Worldwide, there are around 50 million people currently living with dementia. Ten million more are diagnosed every year. Despite the astronomical numbers, there is still no cure.

With no cure available for people diagnosed with dementia, the focus is on helping them to continue enjoying life as much as possible.

“Our memories can be some of the most personal and precious things we carry with us. And when they begin to fade, the effects can be devastating. Unfortunately science is still wrestling with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. So, while we eagerly await a cure, there are things we can do to bring comfort in the meantime.”

Hillandale Communities Facebook page

Research has found that reminiscence therapy can improve quality of life, cognition, communication and possibly mood for people living with dementia, though the improvements are said to be “small”.

What is reminiscence therapy?

Reminiscence therapy is growing in popularity as a useful tool in caring for people with dementia. It is a way to connect with people who are living with dementia, and to help them manage some of their symptoms.

Essentially, reminiscence therapy involves discussing events or experiences from the past, with the aim of evoking memories, stimulating mental activity, and improving wellbeing.

The development of new technologies, such as BikeAround, and built-in facilities such as this 1950s diner, have all been credited with bringing happiness to residents.

Reminiscence therapy is often assisted by the use of props, such as:

  • Photographs
  • Outings, for example a ride in a familiar type of old car
  • Home movies
  • Specially developed new technologies, such as BikeAround
  • Music
  • Archival film or sound recordings
  • Old fashioned household items, such as a 1950s kettle

‘Main Street’ can rekindle memories from people’s past by showing them old movies, having music from the 50s and 60s played, and furnishings in a retro style.

As the company’s website says, “It’s just like the good old days”.

Image: Hillandale Family of Communities.

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