A HEALTHCARE entrepreneur celebrated the launch of his latest venture with a pint pulled by former Coronation Street star Beverley Callard.
Eric Dixon, owner of Willow Park Care Home on Baghill Lane, Pontefract, christened the facility’s in-house bar with an ice-cold lager poured by the TV veteran.
Mrs Callard, who played pub owner Liz McDonald in the soap opera, gave a speech at the opening of the specialist dementia home congratulating Mr Dixon on his dedication to providing expert care.
Mr Dixon said: “Beverley was absolutely lovely. She came to officially launch the home and thought it was absolutely beautiful.
“She took an interest in the home because her mum has dementia and she said it was very stressful to find a home for her.
“We had her pulling the first pint, which I drank.”
Mrs Callard added: “I really wanted to visit because it gave me a chance to get back to my roots in Yorkshire.
“My mum is in a care home and some of them get a bad name so when you get a good one, it’s really nice to see.”
The care home manager, who has 24 years’ experience in the business, helped run Ireland’s largest private health care provider, which included seven care homes specialising in dementia treatment.
Mr Dixon has included state-of-the-art facilities at his newest site, creating 60 jobs for the community, and will be running training session for families and staff to help them understand the illness.
He said: “Dementia is a very difficult disease and people have to understand it. Courses will be offered to families and staff and we will be bringing in specialists to do training.
“It’s the right thing to do, it can be terrifying for the family when they can see their mother forget who they are.
He added: “The things we will be teaching is how to watch for responses in people with dementia, how to calm people down when they get frustrated.
“Around 60 per cent of people in care facilities have some form of dementia. Families can find it very difficult to look after them at home, it’s impossible to keep an eye on them 24 hours.
“We provide a safe environment, it’s unlike any care home.”
Facilities at the home include a hair salon, cinema, cafe and bar, with plans to build an allotment for green-fingered residents.
Mr Dixon said: “All the care homes I have ever run have offered what we offer – five-star facilities. We think that older people are entitled to their own privacy and we want the care home to be part of the Pontefract community. We want families to come in and participate in activities and volunteer in the cafe.”