1950s-style American diner and ice cream parlour opens at Blackhall Colliery care complex

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A newly developed 1950s American diner is set to enhance the lives of people living with dementia in a Hartlepool care home.

Yohden Care Complex in Blackhall Colliery spent over £5000 converting a smaller dining room at the nursing and residential home into an on-site retro American diner and ice cream parlour, complete with seating booths, juke box, and counter with coffee machine and ice cream maker.

As well as being used as a dining area, the home plans to use their American diner for parties, themed events and activities, such as making homemade milkshakes and sundaes.

The American diner is the latest addition to the home’s ‘high street’ on their specialist dementia residential and nursing care unit, known as Yohden Lodge, which also features a hair salon, laundrettes and an indoor garden room for the colder winter months.

The project has been a labour of love for Yohden Manager Maxine Lee who wanted to recreate an authentic restaurant experience for people living at the home who are unable to take trips out.

She said: “As a home we organise regular trips out to local cafes but some of our residents find it difficult or impossible to get out due to mobility issues or if they are living with advanced dementia. Previously we had two dining rooms, a larger and smaller one, but both had similar home-style décor and we were finding that the smaller room wasn’t really being used. We wanted to create somewhere separate to our dining room that has the feel and appearance of a real restaurant, somewhere that our residents could visit which would give them the experience of going out to a café or restaurant but in a safe and secure environment with carers on hand.”

“We’re also hoping to see that the change in venue will encourage some residents to eat more, as we’re more likely to take the time to finish our plate in a restaurant setting than we are at home.”

“It’s also somewhere comfortable and inviting that families can go to sit and enjoy spending time with their loved one over some food or refreshments. We’ve had lovely comments from the families and visiting healthcare professionals who have seen the diner so far.”

Yohden Care Complex, operated by UK care group Countrywide Care Homes, provides residential, nursing and dementia care for the elderly as well as specialist care for adults with learning disabilities.

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