I basically don’t much like fake anything: not fake flowers, or fake vanilla extract, or fake ice cream known here in Seattle as “vegan non-dairy product”, soft serve in a cone. No thank you. The stuff is an odd shade of green. I saw someone come out of the shop eating one, and asked politely what it was. Vegan non-dairy product, colored and flavored with kale. Healthy, I expect.
The hot new fake thing is a town, reconstructed to look like the 1950’s for people my age in early stages of dementia, located in an old warehouse in Chula Vista, CA. Fake towns are coming to the mall near you as well, via a franchising option.
We are testing out whether folks my age who are losing their connection to the present will revive a bit and feel less anxious in a town that looks like what they remember. Your loved ones pay a fee and you go there for the day, sort of like an adult day care but you can wander around as if in a town.
The idea is called reminiscence therapy.
I recall reading about a Scandinavian country, Norway I think, that actually created a period town where residents live, and that seems to have some benefit. I don’t know about being bussed to a warehouse in Chula Vista and walking through a door and coming out in what looks like a town. Or, going to a strip mall and coming out in something that looks like 1950’s Kearny, NJ: Equity Savings and Loan, Lincoln Theater, Mickley’s Market, the Mandee dress shop, Sid’s Luncheonette and Fountain, the bakery, the deli where we got half sour pickles out of a barrel on the walk home from high school, the 39 bus stop where we started our trip to Newark to shop.
There’s a big assumption, here, of course, that people liked the towns where they grew up — and that people my age mostly grew up in towns.
I wonder if the reminiscence therapy works for those of us who couldn’t wait to go beyond small town life to get out and see the world.