Media Matters

New dementia suite pays tribute to the past

News   •   Nov 19, 2010 11:44 GMT

Traditional wing backed armchairs sit in front of the fire. The drop leaf table nestles in front of the window. The gentle bird-patterned wallpaper, ceramic sink and pastel blue units bring a cosiness to the room.

This would have been a familiar scene in homes across the country during wartime. The scullery was the heart of the home; the warmest room in the house; the place where families ate, children played and adults discussed the war effort.

That’s why it’s the room that’s been recreated in the Aspen Suite, a modern unit offering a safe, secure and caring environment for residents living with dementia.

The 11 bedroom suite is the newest facility to open its doors at The Minstrels, a popular retirement village on a three acre site on Sleaford Road, in Boston. The dedicated suite – which includes a double room ideal for couples – has been carefully thought out to provide an environment in which residents can feel safe. Particular care has been taken with the interior design – colours, patterns and accessories have been chosen to give residents a sense of familiarity. The 1940s themed scullery is a perfect example.

“People suffering from dementia often have clear childhood memories despite having poor short term memory,” said Paul Walsh, managing director of the care and operations division of Retirement Villages Ltd. “This room will feel familiar. The idea is that it becomes a haven where residents can spend time and reminisce.”

The Aspen Suite has been carefully designed to meet the requirements of the most up to date research into the treatment of dementia patients. The doors on the individual bedrooms each have a ‘Memory Box’ containing items personal to each resident – gloves, pots of face cream and wedding photos for instance.

“Those living with dementia don’t always recognise words – even their names – but they do remember wedding days, the face cream they’ve always used or favourite items of clothing,” said Paul.

Similarly, the menus in the dining room are produced each day in images as well as written words.

“Everything we have put in place at The Aspen Suite is aimed at making life for our residents feel as secure and comfortable as possible,” said Paul.

The Aspen Suite is a self contained area within the retirement village, which also has a residential home, a nursing home and independent living apartments. The Suite includes a communal lounge-diner where residents can mix, entertain friends and family and join in organised activities. There is also a secure patio area as well as access to the mature gardens on the three acre site.

“We are delighted to be able to extend the care offering at The Minstrels,” said Paul. “We have the expertise and now the space here to be able to really make a difference to dementia patients.”

For more information about The Aspen Suite call 01205 359797.

Pic caps:
Memory boxes on each resident’s door act as prompts


Retirement Villages Ltd has been developing and managing bespoke lifestyle and care villages for the over 55s for almost 30 years. The pioneers of the UK model, the company now has approaching 2,000 residents living in 12 locations spread across 10 counties in the south of the country. For more information visit the website