It Takes a Village

September 14, 2015
With an aging population, the Netherlands has come up with a unique solution for dementia care. They have created a “Dementia Village” – a contained community with shops, restaurants and a movie theatre, just like any small town.
The difference is that this town is secured, and many of the villagers are trained nurses and caregivers.  The staff plans activities, cooks meals and attends to the basic personal needs of each patient.  Everyone is trained in dementia care to help residents sufferers lead as normal a life as possible.
The village is the first of its kind and the residents are encouraged to roam and explore within its confines. They shop for food at the grocery store, go by the post office or enjoy walking around the paths and fountains surrounding their apartments. If they get confused, someone is nearby to provide assistance.
Residents have a sense of purpose not found in traditional nursing homes. Many experts believe the homelike setting allows the residents to lead a normal life.   The cost to build this community in Amsterdam, was about $25 million, with $22 million funded by the Dutch government. Residents pay $7,000 monthly and there is a waitlist.
While a novel and perhaps controversial approach, proponents of the village observe that the freedom in the environment decreases issues like agitation and aggression.  When behavioral issues decline there is less need for medication.
Other countries are studying the model to develop their own dementia communities. With dementia growing, we will continue to see innovative and compassionate solutions such as this dementia village.

 

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