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Hogewey - Dementia Village

In the municipality of Weesp, not far from Amsterdam, in the Netherlands sits the village of Hogewey. Hogewey is a unique village that is home to 152 men and women living with severe dementia. It is an entire village where each person can continue to live as they had before they had dementia however with the care and support needed for people in advanced stages of the disease.

 

It is the only place of its kind, on its scale, anywhere in the world where residents have the freedom to be safe and independent on the outside within an ordinary neighbourhood.

 

The community has 23 residential units, each shared by 6 to 8 residents and all of the residents have dementia. 24 hour-care is provided by 240 'villagers' who are actually trained geriatric nurses and professional carers dressed in street clothes. Everyone else however, from the barber at the local salon to the chefs in the restaurants carry out their regular jobs in addition to being trained in dementia care.

 

Many people diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's disease can wander and become lost, however at Hogewey, this is not a concern. There's only one way in and out of the village and that doorway is staffed and locked 24 hours a day.

 

Residents have the freedom to walk from their own front door and take a route to the park, the market square, the grocery store, the theatre, the restaurant and café and much more within the village.

 

The ideas that a person has about life, about living, their standards and values determine the 'lifestyle' of that person.

 

Hogewey differentiates seven lifestyle categories: religious, cultural, urban, homemaker, trade/craft, upper class and Indonesian. The resident selects, in consultation with their family and with Hogewey staff, the lifestyle that is most appropriate. The moods evoked by the furnishing, decoration and art work in each home create an experience reminiscent of each individual's formative years.

 

The media are rarely allowed inside, in an effort to minimize the disruption of the residents' daily lives however in March 2013 Dr. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent was granted access.

 

To watch this compelling video on Hogewey click here.

 

(Resources: Information and images sourced from Hogewey website and CNN video).