STEPPING into this care home has become a trip back in time, thanks to a new unit specially designed to help recover lost memories.
Corridors in De Baliol Care Home, in Newbiggin by the Sea, have been transformed to mimic the Northumberland of the 1940s and 50s – when many of the home’s residents were in their prime.
They feature views of the seaside from ‘windows’, old-fashioned shop fronts, and the entrances to bedrooms transformed into proper ‘front doors’.
It’s intended to help residents suffering with dementia, by providing a familiar and pleasant environment which echoes memories of the past they may be starting to lose.
Administrator Sylvia Richardson explained: “We wanted to create an 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.”
Chris, the man behind the project, added: “They just let us loose on it – I did some research into the idea, and it has obviously turned out really well.
“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.
“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 ideal has been tested elsewhere, from other care homes to NHS hospitals. The idea is that when distressed, as many people who suffer from dementia can become, a person can visit the corridor to enjoy positive, calming scenes - reminding them of happier times.