For those unaware of the concept, dementia villages were created as a safe and comforting residential community for those who suffer from dementia.
Let’s take a few minutes to explore this fascinating idea and how it is teaching us to better care for those with illness in their elderly years.
Where Did Dementia Villages Originate?
The idea sprung to life in the Dutch village of Hogewey, Netherlands. It contains restaurants, shops, movie theaters, apartments, ponds, fountains, flowers, and shrubbery. The village is home to over 150 men and women who currently live with severe dementia.
The rest of the community is made up of over 200 “villagers.” The unique part about these seemingly normal visitors in plainclothes is that they are all experienced caregivers or geriatric medical professionals. They plan activities, prepare meals, assist with personal care, and administer medications to the dementia sufferers who live there.
In addition, the people who staff the shops and other businesses in the village are trained in dementia care and are well prepared to assist Alzheimer’s patients go about their days safely and enjoyably.
What the Dementia Village is Teaching Us
Though the idea originated outside of the United States, we are seeing similar communities being formed throughout the country as we learn more about the benefits of such a unique and positive conception.
- Freedom and security are of high importance to those suffering from dementia. In Hogewey, residents feel secure in the gated community and are comforted by the abundance of caring individuals who are able to assist them with daily tasks. However, they are also able to roam and explore the community within its confines, giving them a sense of individuality and wonder.
- Living a “normal” life is challenging for dementia patients in the real world. Outside of these dementia villages, those suffering from Alzheimer’s have difficulty with a great many things. Not everyone they will encounter understands the disease or how to help and care for those who have it. Confusion is common in everyday situations for these patients, but the villages provide a compassionate and kind type of care that is rarely seen elsewhere. The homelike setting allows residents to feel as normal as possible, as they can share meals, spend time with friends, taking walks, and visiting local shops.
- Focusing on long-term memories can provide peace and comfort for dementia patients. Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s today. Short-term memory retention is challenging for those with dementia, but many have a good recollection of long-term memories, which is why they often appear and act as if they are living many years in the past. Offering patient activities that are now considered forms of “time capsule therapy” allows them the freedom to live in the days of their youth or wherever their minds decide to take them back in time.
Compassionate Dementia Care in Fulton, MD
At Kenwood Care, we have already begun to make note of the ways these dementia villages are creating a near-perfect living environment for those living with Alzheimer’s and implement as many helpful strategies as we can in our specialized resident care plans. Contact us to learn more about our assisted living facilities throughout Howard County today!