Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 15.03.32SUNDERLAND pensioners have got all the ingredients to make happy memories, with new cookery classes designed to help them reminisce about days gone by.

Residents at Sunderland extra care scheme Seafarers Way, in the East End, are being treated to new classes, which are specifically developed to unlock precious memories of the past.

The Moor Terrace apartment scheme, which is home to people who are living with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, runs cookery programmes regularly with tenants, one of a number of activities specifically designed to meet their needs.  It is known that reminiscing can unlock memories, for people living with dementia.

The scheme, which was opened in 2014, offers an almost daily programme of entertainment, including movie afternoons, musical entertainment from live acts and pampering session to ensure that every day is entertaining for residents.  Many of the activities organised by the Seafarers Way team are designed specifically for people living with dementia, with reminiscence being a key focus, to help evoke positive memories.

Dale Thompson, regional operations manager at Inclusion Housing, which runs Seafarers Way, said: “Cooking for their family is something that many of the older people we have in the scheme will have done when they were younger and perhaps had children growing up.

“Through supported, shared cooking sessions, we are helping our residents to remember the old days and to remain a sense of independence, in a safe, secure environment. This approach is known to evoke memories that can be very comforting for people living with dementia, so as well as being an entertaining activity, it comes with really great ancillary benefits.”

He added: “A person’s independence is often about more than just living in their own home; for many, they need to be able to feel that they are undertaking day to day tasks that they did in the past.

“The activities we organise at Seafarers Way are about helping people to feel they are still capable of being themselves – the person they recall being many years ago, with the same abilities and level of independence.”

The communal kitchen space, on the ground floor of the scheme, is one of a number of features that have been specifically designed to support residents with dementia.

Seafarers Way offers 38 custom-built one and two bedroom apartments, for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Only seven apartments remain vacant.  The scheme was commissioned by Sunderland City Council, and is one of nine developments in Sunderland.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for health, housing and adult services, said: “The scheme is a fantastic example of a place that not only thinks about the health needs of its residents, but also the social needs to keep them happy and fulfilled.

“In many ways, dementia can be a cruel disease, taking away someone’s memories and sense of self, but through reminiscence, it can be possible to tease out fragments of the person they used to be, stimulating their brain to unlock memories.

“Schemes like this, and others across the city, are genuinely transforming care in Sunderland, and through partnerships with organisations like Inclusion and Housing & Care 21, we are seeing the city deliver the best standard of care possible to what is an aging population in Sunderland.”

For more information about Seafarers Way, contact Inclusion Housing on 01904 675 207 or email tenancies@inclusionhousing.org.uk or visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/extracare, call 0303 123 1052 or email the scheme manager Reagan Wade at Reagan.wade@housingandcare21.co.uk.