1950s-Themed Day Center Brings Smiles and Memories to Alzheimer’s Patients

Recalling memories can be a helpful therapy for those living with Alzheimer’s because it brings them back to the familiar moments of their past. A senior day center is keeping this in mind by creating a 1950s theme to help calm and cheer up those with Alzheimer’s.

Town Square, which already has a location in Maryland and one in California, is branching out further with new upcoming franchise sites planned in a dozen more cities, including Sarasota, Florida. The idea for the first such center was hatched by The George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers. Founders Dr. George G. and Joy Glenner began creating senior day centers in 1982.

The organization’s website explains the purpose behind the programs.


“The center has been designed on the interior to facilitate immersive Reminiscence Therapy and bring its participants back to a time where their memories are the strongest. Reminiscence Therapy has been shown to reduce agitation, improve mood and improve sleep quality.”

Sarasota is set to have its own by sometime this summer, with an 11,120-square-foot facility at Oaks Plaza shopping center. Like the others, it will have store fronts mimicking the 1950s, including a diner, theater, library, pub, city hall, health club and more.

Co-owner Michael Finn is franchising the location. He says this project will be helpful to patients themselves, as well as caregivers.


He explains, “Studies show that people with Alzheimer’s and dementia often retain memories from when they were between the ages of 15 and 25; hence, the 1950s retro-theme at Town Square, which can bring positive cognitive effects for people struggling with memory issues. Town Square is all about engaging our members who need this type of interaction during the day. It also provides peace of mind and relief to their caregivers.”

Reminiscence Therapy is one of the more popular approaches to dealing with Alzheimer’s, with some evidence suggesting it may even be helpful to seniors without dementia because it improves mood. Typically, it’s done with photographs, other tangible items, or music and a discussion of the past. It may not cure the disease, but it makes it easier to manage.


Dr. Michael Mullan is executive director of Sarasota’s Roskamp Institute, which researches diseases of the mind.

He says, “When caregivers first start to notice Alzheimer’s in their loved ones or spouse, they often try to correct them. In the early stages that’s helpful, but after a while that gets demoralizing for both parties. When you cue people with memories from the past, like music or movies, if they recognize them and they can join in with songs, or they can hum tunes they know, there’s more positive validation for them. They think, ‘this is something I can do, and it’s fun.’”

Finn says they’re excited to open and hope they provide an engaging atmosphere to help seniors.

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