A Glasgow Care Home has come up with an unusual therapy for its residents living with dementia – by providing them with their own traditional ‘pub’.
Bupa’s Golfhill Care Home, in the East End of Glasgow, features the ‘Dennistoun Arms’, which aims to provide a recognisable social environment in which residents can relive the past and share memories and stories over a pint or two.
Although not a licensed premises, the ‘pub’ is operated by care staff and set up like a traditional East End Bar complete with a TV, bar stools, sports memorabilia, a jukebox and even a pub bell to call last orders, much of which has been generously donated by local pub, the Crown Creighton, which was previously favoured by many of the residents.
The Dennistoun Arms also opens out on to a patioed, outside area which has been transformed into a beer garden. It is used daily during the summer and as regularly as possible during the colder months..
The space is hugely popular with residents who use it to play cards or dominoes together, listen to music and sing songs, watch the TV and read the paper, all while enjoying their favourite tipple. It also provides ample scope for a wide range of social activities with friends and family, including birthday parties and Burns suppers.
Nancyanne Smith, Home Manager at Bupa’s Golfhill Care Home, believes that the pub has real benefits and delivers a creative form of therapy for residents.
She said: “Many of our residents are local and their families know one another. We had the space and it felt like a natural thing to make it into an environment where everyone can socialise, as they would have done in the old days.
“We’re also lucky to have the outdoor patio as it makes an ideal beer garden and is a huge sun trap in the summer months.
“The pub is open to all residents and appeals to the vast majority as it allows them to reconnect with the traditional notion of ‘going for a pint with your pals’.
“Our male residents have created a men’s group where they play cards and dominoes together, and the women enjoy the garden space and listening to their favourite music on the jukebox.
“Family visitors have commented that they love how it feels so normal to just sit and socialise all together, and all the staff take turns playing barman or barmaid, which is great fun.”
Dementia takes various forms and can leave people living with the condition feeling confused, isolated or distressed. In some cases they will not recognise even close relatives and loved ones.
However, research has repeatedly shown the benefits of helping those with the condition to channel and focus on positive memories from their lives.
Nancyanne believes the pub helps to improve cognitive stimulation for Golfhill’s residents living with dementia.
She added: “This concept improves the living experience for residents by providing extra cognitive stimulation which improves their mood and general sense of wellbeing.
“Families can also benefit from spending time in an enjoyable setting which enhances the visit to their relative or friend – helping to create a friendly, relaxing atmosphere for all parties.
“Spending time in the ‘pub’ can also improve co-ordination – even if this just involves a resident raising a glass.”