Town Square® Brochure

View or download the Town Square® brochure.

Town Square® Storefront Descriptions

Learn about Town Square® storefronts and other installations.


View or download the Town Square® menu.

Activity Calendar

View or download the Town Square® activity calendar.

CLICK HERE for description of our activity program


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What was the inspiration behind the Town Square® concept?

Town Square® was inspired by Junior Achievement’s Biz Town located in San Diego, CA. Soon after our new CEO, Scott J. Tarde, L.N.H.A., came onboard at the Glenner Centers, his 11 year old daughter visited Biz Town with her 5th grade class. Biz Town is a simulated town where 5th grade students immerse themselves in the day-to-day operations of a small town. Scott had the vision of creating a similar environment for individuals with dementia. He thought that creating a larger, immersive space designed to replicate a small town from the era that our participants grew up in would help to facilitate Reminiscence Therapy. Research on Reminiscence Therapy supported this vision and soon the idea of Town Square® went from vision to reality.

What is Town Square®?

Town Square®, the Glenner Centers’ newest day center, is the nation’s first immersive Reminiscence Therapy Day Center for individuals with dementia. Town Square® is housed inside a large, light industrial building in the City of Chula Vista, CA and is designed inside to replicate a small, 1950s town in order to facilitate reminiscence.

What is Reminiscence Therapy?

Reminiscence Therapy is a type of therapy that utilizes tangible prompts from a person’s past to elicit memories. Reminiscence Therapy (RT) has also been defined as “involves the discussion of past activities, events and experiences with another person or group of people, usually with the aid of tangible prompts such as photographs, household and other familiar items from the past, music and archive sound recordings”.

Reminiscence therapy is one of the most popular psychosocial interventions in dementia care, and is highly rated by staff and participants. There is some evidence to suggest it is effective in improving mood in older people without dementia.

RESOURCEReminiscence therapy for dementia

What are the benefits of Reminiscence Therapy?

Reminiscence Therapy has been shown to improve mood, reduce agitation and improve sleep quality.

Is Town Square® just for an individual who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?

No – Town Square® was designed to benefit the family caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia do not just impact the individual who is diagnosed. The reality is the disease impacts the Family Caregiver in other significant ways. The need for 24-hour care becomes an almost certainty. The life the Family Caregiver was leading is immediately impacted. Dreams of leisure time, travel and companionship are devastated. Town Square® is designed to give Family Caregivers the opportunity to engage with their loved one in a meaningful way. Memories that may not be triggered in present environments, have the opportunity to be unlocked in Town Square®.

Why is Town Square® designed from the era 1953-1961?

Studies have shown that our strongest memories are constructed from the ages of 10-30. The reason being is that this is when the most significant life events occur – graduation from high school, college, first job, weddings, birth of children. That said, a majority of our participants are now in their early eighties. Our participants, who are currently 82 (in 2017), were born in in 1935 and would have been 18 in 1953.

Could Town Square® be considered confusing for an individual who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?

Actually, it is just the opposite. Reminiscence Therapy brings the individual with Alzheimer’ or another dementia back to where their memories are the strongest which is very comforting.

How does the program work?

Participants are assessed and placed in like functioning and interest groups of five (5) and rotate through the storefronts very much like you or I rotated classes in high school or college, spending 45-50 minutes in each Storefront.

Are participants allowed to just wander?

No – Town Square® is a structured rotational activity program. If Participants do have a favorite storefront, they certainly can stay and join in with another group.

What happens in ten (10) years when the storefronts are outdated?

Thanks to our innovative design partnership with the San Diego Opera Scenic Studio we can update our storefronts as the years go by.

Is Town Square® a drop off Center?

No – Town Square® is a standalone licensed Adult Day Health Care Center. Participants must be pre-assessed and enrolled.

What are some of the intentional design features of Town Square®?

Town Square was designed to be entertaining and fun, but great care was taken to make the space safe and dementia-friendly as well. For example:

  • The Time Warp space allows for a “neutral transition zone” from 2018 to 1953
  • Plexi-glass was used in all windows for safety
  • Flooring choices avoid distracting patterns
  • Signage was created using larger fonts and bright colors
  • No mirrors are hung in the bathrooms/minimal reflective surfaces
  • 24-foot ceilings to create a realistic urban space
  • Skylights allow for natural light
  • Ceilings were included in certain storefronts for sound control
  • Storefronts serve as backdrops for structured programming
  • Realistic, non-juvenile, era-specific tangible prompts in all storefronts (authentic and replica)
What kinds of activities will be available to Town Square® participants?

Each storefront will offer structured activities designed to facilitate reminiscence and keep our participants active.

  • ROSIE’S DINER– This is where our participants enjoy their meals while listening to the old songs of the 50s. The vintage tables and turquoise and white booths, retro bar and juke box serve as visual prompts to help our participants reminisce about the old days! Bingo and baking classes also take place here.

  • GONE FISHIN’ PUB– This is where our more active participants can shoot pool on the vintage pool table and enjoy the 1950s memorabilia on the walls. Much of our occupational and physical therapy occurs here in the half basketball court area. Bowling, poker and karaoke are available too!

  • CITY HALL– Our Center Director and Activity Coordinator have offices here. The conference room is used for our caregiver support groups and trainings. Vintage desks and old-fashioned typewriters are available for our participants to utilize.

  • LITTLE BLUE HOUSE– This is a very special storefront for us and is named after our first cottage-style adult day center in Hillcrest, CA that we have been affectionately calling the “Little Blue House” for years. Every Town Square® location in the nation will have a “Little Blue House”! Folding towels, playing cards, sorting and organizing dishes, listening to music and knitting classes are the activities that occur here in this comforting, 1950s kitchen/family room type atmosphere.

  • LIBRARY– Games, puzzles and period-specific books are utilized in this storefront along with a faux fireplace and large leather chairs for reading and relaxing. Complete with images of the presidents of the era, storytelling and intergenerational reading circles also take place here.

  • SAUCY’S PET SHOP– A 500-gallon aquarium and bird cage are housed here allowing for a calm place to conduct our Pet Therapy Programs. The Humane Society, Love on a Leash, Safari Express and Helen Woodward Animal Center bring additional pets to this welcoming space on a regular basis.

  • MUSEUM– This storefront has been generously curated by the San Diego Air & Space Museum, an aviation and space exploration museum here in San Diego, CA and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world are displayed for our participants to view allowing them to share any stories that might come to mind from the past.

  • CLINIC– Our RN’s office is located here inside the “Clinic”. There is also a private room used to dispense medications and for participants that need a space to lie down and rest. Therapeutic baby dolls and a crib are available for any of our participants that are soothed by holding babies.

  • SILVER FOX BARBER & BEAUTY SHOP– The old-fashioned barber pole is a reminder of the old days of visiting the barber! This storefront allows our participants to be pampered while they flip through 1950s hairstyle magazines.

  • PIED PIPER MOVIE THEATRE– Vintage red and gold décor along with a large movie screen to show old movie clips and musicals are housed here. Our participants have an opportunity to reminisce about their favorite old movies, actors and actresses from their past. A baby grand piano is available for entertainers and music therapists.

  • JOY’S DEPARTMENT STORE – Vintage jewelry, clothing, hats and scarves are displayed here for participants to browse through and try on. These items allow our participants an opportunity to reminisce about the old styles of the 1950s. Think jewelry making classes and The Red Hat Society!

  • GLENNER PARK– Glenner Park is a place for our participants to play bocce ball, make a few puts on the putting green or relax on park benches and sightsee. It is also used as a gathering space for future events such as dog shows and concerts in the park!

  • GEIGER’S GARAGE – Tune up the 1959 T-Bird or check the tires! The Town Square® Garage gives participants an opportunity to tinker on a vintage car and discuss memories from their youth.