A Waltham Abbey care home has re-created a traditional sweet shop for its elderly residents who suffer with dementia. 

They use the shop as an interactive memory tool saying it has “become the social hub” of the home, residents choose their sweets and serve their friends over the counter promoting conversation. 

Ashbrook Court offers residential nursing and dementia care and has more than 60 rooms. The new shop is part of a vintage high street created in the home which includes a post box and a mural featuring a florist and a ladies’ boutique. 

The shop was planned to encourage the residents to reminisce which can help people living with dementia rediscover past experiences. 

This Is Local London: Resident at the new vintage high street- David Lovely and Klaudia MatejaResident at the new vintage high street- David Lovely and Klaudia Mateja

Resident Pauline Cowen, age 78 says, “The sweet shop reminds me of childhood trips with my mum to our local sweet shop. There’s a fine selection and the daily visits are fun. We get to help serve the delicious sweets.” 

Julie Arnold, daughter of resident Joe Miechielsens, age 87 says, “It’s the little things like the sweet shop that make the difference. He enjoys Humbugs and Chocolate and often takes the sweet trolley round to serve his friends.” 

“He loves being able to say, “I live near the post office” and helping out with the sweet shop. It is extremely special for him because he was brought up in Children’s Homes and never visited a sweet shop when he was little.”

This Is Local London: Resident John Saunders posting a letterResident John Saunders posting a letter 

Jackie Berritt, Group Lifestyle Lead explains: “The sweet shop has become the social hub of Ashbrook Court, our residents love it.” 

“It also plays an important role in keeping their minds active. As we get older, we can lose our sense of purpose and having the opportunity to help with tasks in the shop gives them a real sense of fulfillment. They really look forward to their visits.” 

“They enjoy assisting us behind the counter, serving the sweets and running the till. It really helps them to feel part of something.”