Care home residents get own 1950s themed American diner

Staff and residents of Yohden Care Complex, Blackhall Colliery, in the new American diner
Staff and residents of Yohden Care Complex, Blackhall Colliery, in the new American diner
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It’s Happy Days for residents of a care home which has opened its own 1950s American-style diner.

The authentic addition to Yohden care Complex in Blackhall Colliery will help to take residents with dementia down memory lane and provide a fun place for those who have difficulty getting out and about.

We’ve had lovely comments from the families and visiting health care professionals who have seen the diner so far

Maxine Lee, manager

Over £5,000 has been spent by the home to convert a smaller dining room at the nursing and residential home into a colourful retro diner and ice cream parlour.

It has been fitted out with everything from seating booths, juke box, and counter with coffee machine and ice cream maker.

The project has been a labour of love for Yohden manager Maxine Lee who wanted to recreate an authentic restaurant experience for people living at the home.

She said: “As a home we organise regular trips out to local cafes but some of our residents find it difficult or impossible to get out due to mobility issues or if they are living with advanced dementia.

“Previously we had two dining rooms, a larger and smaller one, but both had similar home-style décor and we were finding that the smaller room wasn’t really being used.

“We wanted to create somewhere separate to our dining room that has the feel and appearance of a real restaurant, somewhere that our residents could visit which would give them the experience of going out to a café or restaurant but in a safe and secure environment with carers on hand.”

As well as being used as a dining area, the home plans to use the American diner for parties, themed events and activities.

It is the latest addition to the home’s ‘high street’ on their specialist dementia residential and nursing care unit, known as Yohden Lodge, which also features a hair salon, launderettes and an indoor garden room for the colder winter months.

Ms Lee added: “We’re also hoping to see that the change in venue will encourage some residents to eat more, as we’re more likely to take the time to finish our plate in a restaurant setting than we are at home.

“It’s also somewhere comfortable and inviting that families can go to sit and enjoy spending time with their loved one over some food or refreshments.

“We’ve had lovely comments from the families and visiting health care professionals who have seen the diner so far.”

Yohden Care Complex is operated by Countrywide Care Homes and has been named one of the top 20 most highly recommended North East care homes in the carehome.co.uk Top 20 awards.