Inside the Dutch 'dementia village' that offers beer, bingo, and top-notch healthcare
Residents of Hogeweyk, a village located in Weesp, Netherlands, lead a normal life. They go to the grocery store, complain about the weather, and enjoy a weekly game of bingo.
But there's one thing that sets the 152 residents apart from the general public: Everyone has an advanced form of dementia.Hogeweyk is a nursing home disguised to look like the outside world. It helps people with mild to severe dementia suffer a little bit less in their remaining years, facility manager Eloy van Hal told Business Insider. He said it preserves people's sense of autonomy.Advertisement
The village is comprised of 23 houses, each with six to seven residents and a caregiver who cooks, takes people to social events, helps them go grocery shopping at the village market, and watches over them to ensure their safety.
Here's what life is like inside Hogeweyk's walls.
The efforts may only yield benefits for a few years. But van Hal said the small details can mean the most, even if it's just pouring a resident the perfect cup of coffee.
It's also important for residents to go outside, research has found. Hogewey tries to encourage residents to take walks or enjoy one of the several gardens.Advertisement
Although certain homes are designed to accommodate introverts, there are a variety of social events available to residents, van Hal said. There are also bingo nights, social clubs, theater events, and plenty of chances to bump into neighbors.
The staff of medical professionals tries to cater to each resident based on their unique needs, van Hal said.Advertisement
"For us it's important that we support them to experience a normal day, a day they like and a day they recognize," van Hal said.
Hogeweyk caregivers and house attendants use an in-house currency to help their residents buy groceries at a fully-functional supermarket.Advertisement
Staff at Hogeweyk are trained to focus on highlighting what residents can do, not what they can't.
Hogeweyk started in 1993 as your typical hospital-style nursing home. But the staff soon realized there was a better, more humane, way to offer care.Advertisement
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