Hom­ing

Sunday Sun - - News - By Han­nah Graham Re­porter han­nah.graham@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.

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