Richmond care centre goes back in time for dementia patients


Amy Woodgate Specialist Resource Centre has opened a 1950s convenience store.


By Seema Hakim

A Richmond residential and day care centre for dementia sufferers has stepped back in time with the opening of a 1950s convenience store.

The shop, which is housed in Chessington’s Amy Woodgate Specialist Resource Centre, officially opened its doors last Thursday but is currently a work in progress.

The shop aims to take residents who suffer from dementia back in time to around the 1950s and has therefore been physically built in a period style with old fashioned sweet jars and gobstoppers.

Stuart Hilton, lead dementia carer, said the inspiration for the shop came from various sources.

“It is to appeal to the long term memory in any way of people with dementia,” he said.

“It’s giving them something to latch on to and a pleasant thing to do.”

The shop has already housed old fashioned props and chocolate bars but is still going through further stages of stocking up.

Mr Hilton said that further research needs to be done in sourcing old style goods.

Although the main focus is to be a sweet shop, they will also look for old style stationery and postcards to encourage happy memories.

However, the shop is not a big scale project and is mainly for the 40 odd residents housed at the care centre.

Claire Windsor, activities co-ordinator at the centre, said: “It is a shop but also a room to reminisce in. Residents can just go in to have a wander around, not even to buy anything.

“This is somewhere to get a chocolate bar or even some bubble bath. Residents can shop without going to the supermarket, which is big and busy.

“It is empowering for them to make their own decisions.”

In the last week residents have been able to wander into the shop, which is still in the development process.

This has given staff the chance to monitor responses and to listen to suggestions of whether anything else needs be added on the stock list.

“It has been very positive so far,” Mr Hilton said.

“We want to see the response and we want them to get the sense that they’re in something else.”

Lola Myers behind the counter

The shop will be run by one of the residents who also suffers from dementia and who has a background in business.

Grandmother of five, Lola Myers, said: “I am an old girl and have been around a long time.

“I am looking forward to running the shop and having a chat.” 

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