STAFF at a Mexborough care home are encouraging dementia patients to wait at a fake bus stop as part of pioneering treatment into the disease.
The bus stop, situated within the secure courtyard of Roman Court EMI (Elderly Mentally Infirm) Care Centre, is an exact replica of a standard stop, but no service will ever stop there.
The idea for the stop came after residents at the home on Old Farm Court became disorientated, believing they had to go home, to work, or to pick up their children from school by catching a bus.
A spokesperson for the home said residents wait at the bus stop for short periods when in a state of confusion.
After a while staff then tell them the bus is late and invite them back into the home for a coffee.
The stop was installed free of charge by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE).
Linda Howarth, Roman Court nursing manager, said the novel idea was having a positive effect on residents.
She said: “Residents living with dementia can become disorientated at times due to the deterioration of their short term memory.
“But because their long term memory is still active they are aware that the blue bus stop sign is a means to get them where they need to go.
“The idea is that during periods of confusion they are able to wait at the bus stop in the safety of our grounds.
“We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later and invite them in for a coffee.”
She added: “It prevents residents from walking too far and putting themselves at risk.
“The bus stop will have a positive effect for many of our residents at Roman Court, and hopefully will help to improve their quality of life.
“We would like to thank South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive for their kind donation of the stop.”
SYPTE Director General, David Brown, added: “A request for a bus stop to nowhere is very different to those that we normally deal with but we were delighted to be able to help.
“We hope the presence of the stop goes some way to helping the residents cope better with their symptoms and improve their quality of life.”
The fake bus stop concept was first used at Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, Germany, following research into dementia.
The concept has been adopted by other care homes across the UK.