You see, of the Easton Home's clientele, roughly two-thirds have been diagnosed withAlzheimers' or some other form of dementia. In dealing with these ailments, their staff has learned how best to communicate with their residents.
A recently-published paper out of UCLA has found evidence that, while Alzheimer's sufferers lose access to short-term memories, their long-term memories are stored in a different part of the brain that is often unaffected.
So, by taking patients back to 1942, the Easton Home hopes to access those long-dormant memories.
With the shelves and cabinets filled with period-appropriate products, the patients suddenly feel much more at ease. As the facility's community life coordinator, Jennifer Woolley told the AP, "As soon as they walk in, they become comfortable ... and it just takes them back to a place that they're familiar with."
Even if they don't evoke specific memories, the surroundings can be used just as well to get the residents talking. "You almost create a scrapbook of their life history," said Paul Cercone, the home's administrator.
And the proof's in the pudding. People likeChris Boyce, who regularly visits her 90-year-old grandmother at Easton Home, hascreditedthe retro kitchen for reinvigorating her relationship with her elderly relative:"I've learned more about her in the two months she's been here than I think I knew before."
And they don't just have a kitchen, either. The Easton Home's Memory Support wing also has a totally sweet living room, complete with this old TV and a retro radio (which Patch.com reports is actually hollowed out and stuffed with an iPod that "plays 1940's music on an endless loop.")
Things like music are actually very useful when it comes to dementia therapy. Claire Day, the Vice President of Constituent Services for the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter recalls some patients "who hadn't spoken in months until they heard the song 'You Are My Sunshine.' They were subsequently able to sing every lyric perfectly."
Easton also has what they call a "Memory Wall," adorned with art and posters from various periods of American history. Several of them include conversation prompts, such as"How did you learn to drive?"
Again, it's all about keeping the minds of their patients active and engaged whenever possible.
All of this is great for the Easton Home's image, but it really means the world to people like Harry Lomping, whose longtime companion Decima Assise resides at the facility and has Alzheimer's. The retro rooms have enabled him the opportunity to once again dance with his 81-year-old sweetheart.