Coombe End Court residential care home has recreated 1950s style rooms which give residents the opportunity to relive youthful memories.
The concept was actually dreamt up by care home manager Sue Linsley, who told the BBC that the activities involved and the calming effects of the rooms had already managed to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs by 70 per cent.
“Fifteen residents were previously on antipsychotics, there are now only three,” she says.
Sue was able to decorate the rooms authentically by trawling junk shops and car boot sales for items and also by placing advertisements for donations.
The main living room now features a sewing machine from the era, ceramic flying ducks and various other 1950s knick knacks, magazines and books.
Dr Simon Manchip who works at Coombe End Court and is a consultant in old age psychiatry, has reported that patients seem to be more alert now and are more engaging. He says that as such a simple and inexpensive idea, options such as this should be considered as an alternative treatment to antipsychotic drugs for dementia patients.
“These drugs do have a limited role, but if you are on them for a year you are twice as likely to be dead by the end of that year. Nobody really wants their relative sedated and tranquilized. If they can get that emotional response back, you are getting closer to the person underlying the illness. I think this is really the way forward for dementia care.” He said.