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The Vintage Room provides memory therapy to seniors with dementia at The Classic in Altoona

Altoona (WQOW) – In Altoona, caretakers at The Classic are looking for ways to help their dementia residents find ways to stay active and feel more comfortable. They’ve recently opened a new interactive display to help residents take a trip down memory lane called the Vintage Room.

A resident in the Vintage Room reading a nostalgic magazine

The Vintage Room is a place where memory care residents can take a journey to younger days. It includes a number of items from the residents childhood or early adulthood.

“I think it will add a lot to our community,” said Kelsey Schwellenbach, Resident Services Supervisor. “A lot of these things are put in place for them to go back and reconnect that way and feel their purpose again.”

Schwellenbach said the idea was sparked by one of her residents while organizing a storage closet.

“She came up behind me and starting helping and I thought, ‘Okay that’s cool. Something for her to do’, and at the end of it she looked at me and she said, ‘Thank you, I’m not dead yet’. She meant it too,” Schwellenbach said.

Resident in the Vintage Room taking care of a baby

Schwellenbach said residents enjoy the planned activities the staff holds, but the Vintage Room provides a nostalgic twist. “Yeah the laundry is kind of fun,” said Schwellenbach. “A lot of our residents were seamstresses, they were, you know, stay at home and took care of the babies, they were cooks, bakers, they helped with the laundry on a daily basis.”

Instead of caring for others, these residents now need care themselves, but Schwellenbach said in the Vintage Room, a sense of normalcy returns.

“That’s what this room is for, for them to come in, you know, sweep, help with dishes, laundry, fix something. It just helps fill that hole for them.”

Schwellenbach said a lot of the pieces are donated, while others are found at area thrift stores. “Hope Gospel, a lot of Goodwill,” said Schwellenbach. “It was definitely a labor of love.”

The end result is bringing back more than memories for residents.

Staff said they continue to scout for items that would be welcomed additions to the Vintage Room.

Justin Esterly

Justin Esterly is our Daybreak meteorologist. Justin joined WQOW News 18 in May 2018.

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