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Dining through the decades – Banbury care home takes a trip down memory lane

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Residents at a care home in Banbury have taken a trip down memory lane as part of a nationwide initiative to rediscover their favourite foods from the past.

Care UK’s Highmarket House, on North Bar Place, created a retro buffet as part of their 1960s era-themed celebrations which aimed to rediscover residents favourite foods throughout the decades.

Dining through the decades – Banbury care home takes a trip down memory laneOn the day, residents were treated to a 1960s menu featuring devilled eggs, meatballs with sweet and sour sauce, a cheddar and pineapple hedgehog as well a creamy mushroom vol-au-vent and cupcakes, all specially prepared by Highmarket House’s chef.

To get into the spirit of the era, the care team curated a special playlist, featuring some of the residents’ favourite songs from the 1960s, including ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ and ‘Respect’. Residents dressed in outfits and accessories from the era and enjoyed discussing their favourite food memories from the decade.

The ‘Food for Thought’ initiative sees Care UK homes across the country take part in activities which encourage memory sharing and the use of food as a tool for reminiscence.

Jo Pohl, Home Manager at Highmarket House, said: “We had a fantastic day stepping back in time to revisit the 1960s.

“In true 1960s style, we donned our roundest sunglasses and flowery outfits, which provided a great opportunity for residents to share their own memories of the era.

“Reminiscence activities have many advantages for older people, especially those living with dementia, as it can support memory recall and encourage conversation, both of which can help the person to feel valued and remind them of their identity.

“Residents certainly enjoyed re-discovering some of their favourite foods from the past, and the activity has even inspired some new menu suggestions and requests. Our chefs are looking forward to recreating these on our menus and in the coming weeks for everyone to enjoy.”

As part of the project, Care UK has also teamed up with BBC’s Back in Time for… presenter and historian, Dr Polly Russell, to create a special tasting menu for residents to enjoy. Designed to be used a sensory tool to encourage reminiscence in older people, the menu features iconic foods from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and has been used as part of an interactive storytelling session, hosted by Dr Polly, to encourage reminiscence.

Dr Polly commented: “I am delighted to have partnered with Care UK for this project. There really is something incredibly special about the way food can evoke memories and emotions. Just one flavour or smell can prompt a different memory and emotion for each individual, which is why food can be such a powerful tool for memory recall.”

Highmarket House is a state-of-the-art care home which provides full-time residential, dementia, nursing and short-term respite care. The home, which features 73 en-suite bedrooms, has been designed to enable its residents to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence. The care home incorporates space for hobby and leisure activities and includes its own cinema, hairdressing salon and café.

For more information email Customer Relations Manager, Paul Clarke, on or call 01295 297 652.

To find out more about Care UK’s partnership with Dr Polly Russell, and for more top tips on how you and your loved ones can get involved at home, visit

Open to new residents

(Behind the Cromwell Hotel), North Bar Place, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 0TD

Highmarket House

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club

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