Dundee care home’s faux village ‘works wonders’ for dementia sufferers

Doing the official honours were resident Gerry Morrison (centre) and staff, including the man who built the village, Steve Roney (next to Gerry).
Doing the official honours were resident Gerry Morrison (centre) and staff, including the man who built the village, Steve Roney (next to Gerry).

A dedicated “dementia village” has been opened in Dundee to provide a social hub for a local care home’s residents.

Balcarres Care Home, in Broughty Ferry, has added a sweet shop, a grocer’s, a thrift shop and a working post office to the putting green and bus stop cafe already in its garden.

Gerry Morrison, a 100-year-old resident, who recently celebrated his birthday by having his first drink of alcohol, cut the ribbon to officially open the village, which is aimed at dementia sufferers in particular.

The shops are designed to help the residents connect with their memories in a bid to improve their quality of life.

Vera Scrimgeour, Balcarres Care Home deputy manager, said the village was “doing wonders” for the residents’ independence and self-esteem.

Inside the sweet shop at the care home.
Inside the sweet shop at the care home.

She said: “It’s for the people here who can’t go out but still want to be able to.

“They were always asking if they could go to the shops and we were thinking about what we could do because it can be really frustrating for them.

“We decided to make them up faux money.

“Some residents get really upset if they think they don’t have any money.

“They think they are going to the shops. It is brilliant for them.

The home’s ‘village’ was opened by 100-year-old resident Gerry Morrison.
The home’s ‘village’ was opened by 100-year-old resident Gerry Morrison.

“We have huge grounds here so we have set up a bus stop, shops and a cafe called the Bus Stop Cafe. It keeps them involved but we can still keep an eye on them.

“It’s about letting them enjoy things they may have previously enjoyed in their lives.”

Ms Scrimgeour said that carers are running the village, even managing to get the wheelchair residents down to the shop for their messages at the post office.

She added: “We are even getting newspapers delivered down there, so the residents can go and get their paper every morning.

“We are always trying to think about how to give the residents as much independence as possible. It is brilliant for that.

“It also a good thing for the wider community because we have such big grounds that they can use too.”

The project is the first of its kind among Bupa’s care homes across the UK, with handyman Steve Roney building the village in the garden of Balcarres Care Home.

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