What Are Dementia Villages?

Around 50 million people are currently living with dementia, whilst someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds. Dementia can be a difficult illness to cope with, especially for the family and friends of loved ones living with the condition, but with new research and methods, there are new and easier ways to look after those living with dementia.

One such method is a relatively new idea of ‘dementia villages’. Rather than a single care home, residents live in a whole community which is perfectly designed to accommodate people living with dementia. In the Netherlands, the dementia village “Hogeweyk” is a dementia village made up of four different “lifestyles” to suit each resident after tests and interviews with their family. The village has restaurants, shops and even hairdressers, all of which are run by qualified carers to help look after the residents.

This idea was based on reminiscence therapy which focuses on items or a setting from an individual’s past to help them to recall memories from their youth, which in turn encourages them to join in with conversations about their recollections. Living in a village which has different nostalgic and familiar themes is a great way to help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to remember things from their life and talk about them to other residents to prevent loneliness.

Individuals who have dementia may find it confusing moving to a regular care home, but dementia villages like Hogeweyk use their authenticity to help create a calming and realistic atmosphere which helps residents to feel relaxed and natural while living there. The combination of the authentic shops and restaurants along with the constant support of the “townsfolk” allow for a safe and relaxing environment, which is perfect for individuals living with dementia.

Currently, the Netherlands is the only country to have such a village but Canada seems all set to open their own Hogeweyk next year which should drastically help individuals with dementia to feel safe and comfortable in an authentic environment. Judging by the success of Hogeweyk, a UK dementia village would be a great idea to help more people who live with dementia.

Read more about Hogeweyk on their website here.