De Hogeweyk home in the Netherlands is a unique solution to providing treatment to senior citizens who suffer from dementia. The facility opened in 2009 and offers residents the opportunity to remain in a familiar environment, one where they go to the store and take care of their home as normal. However, a staff of over 250 is looking after the 152 dementia-suffering seniors.
While many communities are based on a health approach, this model takes uses a different method to treat dementia. Rather than looking at the problem from a purely healthcare perspective, De Hogeweyk seeks to provide all-encompassing care.
Residents are allowed to move freely about the community and make decisions about how their living space should be arranged. The facility’s website tells the story of dementia care based on living in a normal environment and offers a look at the architecture of the village.
The dementia village model is beginning to catch on after De Hogeweyk has proved a success for nearly ten years. With the number of Alzheimer’s patients increasing as the world’s population ages, communities are seeking new and innovative ways to care for the elderly.
Approximately 47 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s including almost 6 million in the United States. The worldwide number is expected to increase to 76 million people by 2030 according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
These numbers provide a sense of urgency and indicate the need for more dementia care solutions.
Similar villages have popped up around the world with planned facilities in France and newly opened villages in Switzerland, Ireland, Canada and the United States.
Glenner Town Square opened earlier this year in San Diego, California to provide dementia patients a village atmosphere. The facility has 14 stores, and it was designed to help patients remember their earlier life. Much of the architecture resembles the 1950s, and the village’s auto shop features a 1959 Ford Thunderbird.
If Glenner Town Square proves to be a hit, more dementia villages may be opening across the United States to provide the growing number of dementia patients with all-encompassing memory care.
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