An Anchor care home, Mill View in Bradford, has celebrated the opening of its brand new on-site 1950s diner with the king himself, Elvis Presley, making a special appearance.
Transporting residents back in time, the kitsch diner is kitted out with slick leather booths, a vintage jukebox, and a milkshake machine. There is also an old barber’s chair and a 1950s style gas pump. The diner has been a labour of love for the care home’s staff members who worked on the project over the past 18 months after residents voted on the kind of café they most wanted to see.
The diner is the latest exciting addition to Mill View, which already boasts an on-site cinema and a fully-functioning corner shop. The innovative instalments form part of Anchor’s specialist dementia care and reminiscence therapy which uses nostalgic surroundings to help stimulate memories and conversations for those that are living with dementia.
The project has been self-funded through community events and fun days held at the care home, with staff scouring antique markets, car boot sales, and eBay to find the one-off period pieces to bring the diner to life – all without any professional contractor’s help.
Mill View Manager Tee Tatum, who led the project, said:
“It has been a joy for us as a team at Mill View to be able to create the diner and make the residents’ dreams a reality. There’s not a day the booths have been empty since Elvis helped us open its doors! The care home feels like a real community which is exactly what we wanted to achieve. Whether putting in a short shift at the corner shop, getting their hair done in the salon, watching a film at the cinema, or playing a favourite song on the jukebox, residents are able to go back in time and enjoy memories of their youth.”
The diner’s opening party saw an Elvis Presley impersonator entertain the residents, friends and families with a medley of hits while the kitchen served up a fitting meal of Chicken a la King and Baked Alaska. On-going, the diner will be open daily for residents to visit and used for one-to-one reminiscence sessions where residents can talk to carers about their memories of the 1950s.
The diner will be an easily recognisable space for residents living with dementia which will put them at ease so they can focus on talking to carers about happy memories.
There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, expected to increase to over one million by 2025. Reminiscence therapy is just one example of the many methods of person-centred care used by Anchor, care and housing provider for older people.