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This assisted living facility is designed to look like the 1940s so Alzheimer's patients feel at home


lantern home

Though people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia may forget pieces of their recent past, they tend to remember the bulk of their earlier years.

For many, that's the 1940s — when today's 90-year-olds were in their 20s.

The Lantern of Chagrin Valley assisted living facility in Chagrin Valley, Ohio is catering to those recollections. To makes its residents feel at home, an area of the building is designed to look like it was built when most of them were forming some of its strongest memories.

That part of the facility houses primarily houses residents with Alzheimer's, and is resembles a town from the 40s. People can sit on porches, rock in rocking chairs, stroll by iron lampposts, and gaze at the sky-painted ceiling. An audio track of birds chirping plays through the speakers.

News-Herald reporter Andrew Cass says the experience of entering the area "is like walking outside."

"Every little thing you see, the wall color, the paint, actually has a therapeutic benefit, a therapeutic value," CEO and occupational therapist Jean Makesh told Cass last June.

An estimated 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, many of them over 65 years old. As it progresses, the ailment robs people of both their memories and sense of identity. Alzheimer's patients can often feel afraid in environments they'd otherwise feel totally comfortable. There is currently no cure.

Lantern of Chagrin Valley has gotten a surge of attention recently thanks to a popular Reddit post highlighting a golf course-themed carpet at the facility. The home also includes a hair salon for residents and a small waterfall.

"I really think that if the way we provide care doesn't become the standard of the industry, the industry will not be able to do anything for their clients," Makesh told the News-Herald. "We just can't provide care for them. We have to approach them the way we do the day care model."

Though the facility functions like many other assisted living homes from day to day, it's the extra attention to detail that sets it apart.

SEE ALSO: Here's what a 'cure' for Alzheimer's disease might actually look like

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NOW WATCH: This incredible animation breaks down how Alzheimer's affects the brain over time

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