Stranger Than Fiction: A Real Life Dementia Village

Dementia village

Imagine a small town. A normal quiet town habited mainly by elder people. A town that seems to have everything.A hair salon, grocery store, restaurant, theater.  All the commodities you would expect to see any other small town. But something is different. Its all an illusion.

Residents of Hogewey in Weesp, Netherlands are all elders with dementia. In some cases even severe. This is a cutting edge facility designed to accommodate residents and provide a controlled safe environment where the residents can walk freely and enjoy the rest of their lives.

The staff at the grocery store, hair salon, etc, are all specially trained staff members of Hogewey. The main concept behind this innovative facility is allow the patients to be able to lead what they perceive would be a “normal” life and provide them with the illusion of freedom. Many who live there are afflicted with severe dementia and can not tell the difference between Hogewey and the real world. The premises have been made to be like any regular dutch town, and residents can roam free but not leave the premises. There is just one exit door and if they try to go out that way they are politely redirected to try a different route.

Reportedly placing a family member on this location comes far less expensive than round-the-clock at home care. Plus, it offers the relief that their loved ones are looked after at all times. The staff  atHogewey are trained to be always vigilant, and the residents are always being watched.

The main ambition behind the development of this new form of care is to provide as much of a normal life possible to patients with dementia. In a way this is fibbing taken to a whole new level.  The plans behind Hogewey began back 1992, when the founders sat down and tried to come up with a better and more humane way to take care of seniors with dementia and transform or radicalize the typical nursing home.  Can this be a change and a new alternative for caring for dementia patients? With almost 36 million people in the world with dementia and 8 million new cases diagnosed every year, this possibility has definitely gathered a lot of attention amongst the caregiving community.

This might seem radical at a first glance but the people in charge of Hogewey state that the results speak for themselves. Residents in their nursing facility eat better, take fewer medications and ultimately live longer. Also they state that they experience more joy.

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