The 1950s themed café at Prince Michael of Kent Court in Watford

Friday, 05 December 2014

Connecting with cafe culture

A pioneering initiative by the RMBI is showing how reminiscence can play an integral part in dementia care

Previously underused space at Prince Michael of Kent Court in Watford has been developed into a café with a 1950s theme. It provides a relaxed and homely environment and has shown that people living with dementia, when given the right setting, are more able to participate in daily life activities. 

The café aims to create familiarity. The decor and memorabilia help residents to recall memories, while also boosting interaction with other café users. The residents, staff and visitors contribute to its success by baking and holding events, to which all residents are invited. This has helped to break down the barriers between those living in the dementia support unit and those living in other parts of the home.

The idea for the café initially came from the home’s management team and an application was then made for a grant from the government’s dementia care pilot project. The project group consisted of residents, staff, visitors and a local contractor, and everyone had a part to play in its development, from choosing the wallpaper and furnishings, through to plumbing and decorating. Residents enjoyed helping out with key decisions and designing the new space. 

Since opening the café in April 2014, the impact has been remarkable. Alan Russell, whose aunt is a resident at the home, said, ‘The new café is wonderful. It provides a peaceful area for visitors and residents to relax in a homely environment.’

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