A 1950s living room for people with dementia

A devoted husband built a nineteen fifties living room in a ward in Llandough Hospital, Cardiff to help his wife, who had Alzheimer’s (ITV News, 2017).

George Drummond decorated the room with period wallpaper, a TV, black and white photographs, and racks of vinyl to help his wife Elaine remember happier days. He said sitting in from of the fire on a vintage with a wooden TV set helped Elaine to stay “calm and happy”.

Elaine died five months after being admitted to the hospital, having had Alzheimer’s for five years.

George pledged to carry on with his DIY dementia rooms, and has now helped to build a kitchen and a seaside cafe. He said “I heard the nurses talking about the plans for the rooms and I said if they needed someone to help with some decorating and some tiling then I was happy to lend a hand. The effect this room has on the patients far outweighs the work that has gone into it. There is a really calming atmosphere. I was often able to take Elaine into the room, and particularly if she was agitated, she could let me know what she wanted to listen to, and we’d play one of the records from the large collection of 33’s which we had amassed.”

Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have hailed George’s DIY rooms as a positive step for treatment. Nurse Katherine Martinson said “It’s such a simple thing to do and has worked really well. There is a lot of emotion in this room. To have something else to think about other than a hospital visit means a lot to them”.

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