Supporting those who need it most

A Trip Down Memory Lane

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Staff and residents at Kirk House welcomed Nichola Mallon, Lord Mayor of Belfast to officially open Memory Lane last week.  One corridor of Kirk House has been adapted into ‘Memory Lane’, providing safe and supportive accommodation for nine residents with dementia.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Nichola Mallon said,
"I am delighted to officially open Memory Lane at Kirk House.  It’s great to see all the little changes which make it such a welcoming and homely place to live and visit.  This helps prove that life doesn’t have to stop with a diagnosis of dementia, and I applaud that.”

In Memory Lane major changes have been made to residents’ flats and communal areas. Features such as using contrasting colours and bright lighting work alongside personal touches like letting residents choose the colour and number of their own front door to help them find their way and make it a real home. 

Amanda Leitch from the Dementia Services Development Centre NI said,
“Older people with dementia usually have the same age related health problems as their contemporaries and these challenges alone make life difficult enough.  But having dementia as well means that the person has additional challenges to contend with. Making the environment easier to navigate and to understand can reduce the person’s stress and take away some of the hard work of living each day dementia. BCM has shown its commitment to its residents by investing in environmental changes that should help improve the quality of life experiences for those who live in Kirk House. I commend them for their work.”

Kirk House opened its doors 21years ago.  It was seen as the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, using a new approach to residential care.  Its focus was on enabling people to retain their independence regardless of age, frailty, chronic illness or reduced mobility.  That remains the focus of the home today but with recognition of the need to develop the knowledge, skills and design approach to support people living with dementia.

The next stage in BCM’s commitment to improving care for older people and those with dementia will be Copelands, Dementia and Nursing Care in Millisle, Co. Down.  The development will provide specialist dementia and nursing care for people with dementia who are still physically active but require a secure and supportive environment and will be constructed according to the University of Stirling’s Gold Standard in dementia design.  The development has recently been awarded planning permission and it is hoped that construction work will begin later in 2015, with the doors opening to residents in 2017.