Care home gives residents a chance to relive the past with a reminiscence room

Millfields Care Home, in Pontefract, has officially opened its new reminiscence room - which is designed specifically to help those with dementia connect with the past.

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd August 2020, 4:56 pm
Millfields Care Home has officially opened its new reminiscence room

The room was designed with the help of residents and features a range of period items from the 1950 up to the 1970s including a record player with a range of music, a sewing machine, a pub bar and bell.

Care Home Manager, Laura Jones, said “We’re really excited to be able to offer something unique to our residents, we know how much of a positive benefit a facility like this can have on health and well-being.

“It was particularly heart-warming to see how residents got involved and contributed their thoughts on what they wanted this room to be like.”

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Care home gives residents a chance to relive the past with a reminiscence room

“It's all been a success, the room is full of memorabilia that can be used to trigger memories for our residents.

“The staff response to this project has been really good.

"They’ve all supported and embraced it and are always looking for ways to support and engage with our residents, making it easier for those living with dementia."

The idea came from Laura and care home activities and fundraising coordinator, Victoria Jenkins, who observed research from Bradford University, which offers psychosocial research into living and caring well for people with dementia and their families.

Victoria Jenkins, Coun Tom Gordon and Laura Jones at the opening

To get the best possible outcome for the project, the team at Millfields decided to have the residents take the lead, working with them to find out what kind of bits of memorabilia they wanted to see in the room.

Between residents and staff, they chose 1950 style net curtains, a sewing machine, a typewriter, a record player amongst other objects and pieces of decor from their youth that could trigger happy memories.

Victoria said: “ “It has been hard work getting this up and running especially with the added difficulty of Covid-19.

“We’ve spent hours trying to find period items online that would really bring the reminiscence room to life.

The room was designed with the help of residents and features a range of period items from the 1950 up to the 1970s

“In the short time we’ve had the room kitted out we’ve already seen how this has made a real difference to the lives of residences.

“It’s all been worth it, we’ve had such a good response. It was really touching to see a couple of our residents with severe dementia dancing away in the reminiscence room to old records.”

Coun Tom Gordon officially opened the room last week.

It was a condensed and socially distanced event, rather than the party that had been originally planned for residents and their loved ones.

When lockdown restrictions are lifted and the home is open for visitors, the staff at Millfields are planning to hold residents birthday parties in the reminiscence room, inviting friends and families for afternoon tea to take part in reminiscence sessions.

Coun Gordon said: “The staff at Millfields should be super proud of themselves, they are second to none, and residents absolutely thrilled with their latest idea.

“It’s been lovely speaking with a few residents I was able to meet and hearing their stories about our local area – they’ve even taught me a thing or two.

“I’ve already been invited back for a quiz and to meet with residents properly when it’s safe to do so, and I can’t wait”.