Caregivers Are Using Retro Rooms and Music To Help Patients With Alzheimer's Better Recall Memories

Sensory cues for people with dementia involve sound, sight, and touch. They have shown to be successful in bringing back memories that would otherwise be hard to reach. In Pennsylvania, there is an elder-care facility that is embracing the idea of reminiscence therapy. They have created retro rooms that depict living in decades gone past.

Dementia Wing

At the Easton Home's Dementia wing, patients with Alzheimer’s can spend time lounging in vintage kitchens. They are furnished with wringer washing machines as well as cast-iron stoves and more. The patients are also able to dance to music coming from a wood-paneled radio in a living room with vintage furniture. The actual music is produced by an iPod that is stored inside the radio's cabinet, reports The Spokesman-Review

There are also neighboring hallways lined with memorabilia and images designed to cause patients to experience memories. This could involve such memories as their time in the military, travel, fishing, marriage, parenthood, and more. One image in the hallway is of a vintage car with a small sign that reads, “How did you learn to drive?”.

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Other Facilities With Retro Rooms

The Pennsylvania nursing home is not the first to have a wing of its facility designed to provide specialized memories for Alzheimer’s patients. There is a retirement community in Olathe, Kansas called the Cedar Lake Village. They are constructing an assisted-living facility. When it's completed, the facility will have a 1968 Ford pickup in its courtyard and more.

Grove Care Ltd. in the UK makes it possible for its residents to take a stroll down memory lane. It's a place that has a grocery store, pub as well as post office all designed to appear to be from the 1950s.

Alzheimer’s To Increase 

It has been estimated that over 5 million people in the United States today are afflicted with Alzheimer’s. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, that number is only expected to increase significantly. It is understood that reminiscence therapy is not considered a cure for Alzheimer’s. It has been shown to curb the agitation experienced by Alzheimer’s patients as well as significantly improve their mood.

The community coordinator at Easton's homes believes a retro room will take these patients back to a place where things are more familiar to them. It is a way for Alzheimer’s patients to share their experiences as well as their stories. They all seem to love being able to walk into the past.

Do you think this is a positive way to improve the mental health of Alzheimer’s patients? This is something worth discussing. Ask those you know to read about these retro rooms and talk about it.