As a student, I am always given opportunities to discover new and inspiring community resources. This week was especially inspiring with a visit to Glenner Town Square in Chula Vista, California.
Glenner Town Square is an adult daycare facility which uses reminiscence therapy. What is Reminiscence therapy? Glad you asked, because it is so, so cool. Reminiscence therapy uses environments and stimuli to activate deep parts of the brain and memory in patients with dementia and Alzheimers. These stimuli can be anything from music from an old era, old newspapers, or simply talking about an old pet a client had as a child.
Reminiscence therapy has been proven to decrease depression and increase cognitive skills. These skills can then be utilized in increasing participation in leisure and social participation as well as self-care. Glenner Town Square taps into this knowledge and has created a facility that is truly magical.
The facility is inspired by the 50s and has multiple storefronts and activities with this theme. Music from the area like “Help Me Rhonda” and “Be-Bop-A-Lula” play over the speakers. There is a diner with a jukebox, a pub with a pool table and era-specific sports images like the last time the Cleveland Browns won a championship. There is a small theatre, complete with a ticket booth, in which clips from films like The Greatest Show on Earth play.
We had a blast exploring the facility! Our professor told us we looked like kids in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, ha! As occupational therapy students, we had so many amazing ideas of how we could implement programming that would benefit the client’s in this population.
I really loved how the education director described to us all of the things they considered when building the facility. They seemed to have thought of everything. Knowing that sometimes clients with dementia can become overstimulated, they chose the tile floor in the diner carefully to be neutral rather than the traditional black and white. They even made the alarm in the building birds chirping rather than a traditional alarming alarm!
There is an awesome write up in the San Diego Tribune about the facility, highlighting it’s many features and offerings. They hope to open numerous other Town Square’s throughout the country, a feat which I personally feel, fulfills a significant need in our memory care patient population.