Care Home Goes Dutch To Give Residents A Trip Down Memory Lane

Stevenage based Martin’s House is using ground breaking research from the Netherlands to care for its elderly residents by creating a link to their past with a nostalgic shopping street – inside the home

A leading care home is putting its elderly residents back on the street – but there won’t be an outcry as the occupants of Martin’s House in Stevenage are enjoying the experience.

Gold Care Homes, which runs Martin’s House, has built a traditional – village style – shopping market right inside the building.

According to Gold Care Homes, a highly accredited and award winning care facility – the project is taking the well-being and comfort of their residents to a whole new level by creating a nostalgic community experience.

The idea comes from a leading Dutch care specialist Eloy Van Hal. He developed a complete protected village near Amsterdam. Mr Van Hal’s methods call for elderly care homes to appear as close to the outside world as possible. The ‘Street’ project is expected to be adopted all over the world and a number of similar ‘streets’ are planned across the UK. Martin’s House is entering new territory by leading this initiative.

According to Ravi Gidar, Managing Director of Gold Care Homes, the residents wanted a 1950’s style street with a coffee shop, a greengrocer, a post office, sweet shop and a bookstall. “We’ve done pretty well,” says Gidar. “It’s a work in progress but we are all very proud of the results. We’ll keep listening to the suggestions from our people as the street grows. We want to create a vibrant community.”

The mini shopping area has been dubbed St Martin’s Square. However, Martin’s House is currently running a competition to come up with the most popular name.

“We have all enjoyed putting the street together. It’s been a lot of fun,” says Gidar but he stresses the very serious side to the idea.

“This will be the final home for most of our residents. This is about allowing residents to live in a safe world as close to normality as possible. That means having places to visit, to interact. It is also about developing physical activity and mental agility.

Gidar says the key is to ensuring residents are happy is to allow their individuality to shine through.

“We care deeply about our residents, their individuality and giving them that personal touch. The aim of Martin’s House is to create a cosy, nostalgic and warm environment for each and every resident. It is their home after all.

One resident of Gold Care Homes said the street has breathed new life into the home. “I’ve been living here for a good five years now and it’s my home. The care staffs are friendly and it doesn’t feel like a care home with the amount of activities and community well-being aspects that are incorporated into our life. I’m really looking forward to this new street as it will give both my fellow friends and myself a safe place to do normal activities.”

Another resident spoke of the community spirit that has been generated by the street “It’s nice to have a village feel to our home and activities that we can all join into.”

Gold Care’s ‘St Martin’s Square’ at Martin’s House is already up and running. It is the talking point of the community.