Earth & Conservation

The Happiest Place in the World For People With Dementia

Hogewey, Holland, been dubbed Dementia Village, is revolutionizing eldercare.

<p>Photo: ThinkStock</p>

In the town of Weesp in the Netherlands, there's a very unusual eldercare facility. Hogewey is somewhat revolutionary in the business of caring for seniors, specifically those with dementia. In fact, it has come to be known as Dementia Village, reports CNN.

At Hogewey, residents can live seemingly normal lives. They can go to the movies, eat in restaurants and get their hair done at the salon. The only difference is that all of the establishments are staffed by caretakers and the residents can't leave the premises. Their dormitory-style homes form a perimeter around the complex and if anyone approaches the single exit door, a staff member will propose an alternate route.

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For Theo Visser, this is the perfect solution for his wife Corrie, who has severe dementia. Theo and his daughters don't have enough time or proper training to care for Corrie, but they know she is in good hands at Hogewey, where she gets 24-hour attention. Corrie might not fully understand where she is, but she always seems happy and comfortable, her family reports.

Because of Holland's universal healthcare system, something that every citizen contributes to during their working years, Hogewey is no more expensive than a traditional nursing home. It's also proven to have positive effects on the residents. They don't need as many medications, they seem to be happier overall, and they live longer than residents in other facilities. But could this type of care work in other countries?

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Healthcare officials in Germany, England, Switzerland and Japan have all shown interest in a system like Hogewey. Yvonne van Amerongen, one of Hogewey's founders, told CNN, "We have Dutch design, Dutch cultures, Dutch lifestyles, but the concept is to value the person, the individual ... to support them to live their life as usual, and you can do that anywhere."

HT: The Atlantic