Theres a small community in Weesp, Holland unlike any you have ever heard of. It is a very special community on a mission to change the lives of senior citizens suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are on the rise with senior citizens all over the world. In face it is said that 1 in 3 senior citizens dies with dementia these days. So far the common solution is to put these elderly people in a home with highly regulated rules and restrictions. This places a lot of stress on these citizens and can create a tension between families and patients alike. The community of De Hogeweyk plans to change the norm and what they are doing is amazing.
Caretakers have constructed an entire community closed off from the surrounding city designed specifically for people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Hogeweyk is basically its own town with stores, laundromats and parks so the citizens can go about their normal lives in a safe environment.
One main side effect of dementia and Alzheimer’s is the desire to wander. The community is walled in so that citizens may wander without getting lost or placed in an unsafe situation.
The citizens are able to do their shopping within Hogeweyk and interact with everyone without a strict lockdown policy in a sad environment.
The doctors and caretakers even dress in normal clothes to make the patients feel more comfortable with their surroundings. The patients are allowed to work and do their own shopping within Hogeweyk improving their quality of life. All the while doctors and caretakers are keeping an eye on the citizens.
Architects and designers were hired to create apartments that mimic those of the 50’s to give these patients a familiar surrounding. People suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s often are scared by unknown surroundings and this helped alleviate that. This new take on patient care is brilliant and is showing incredible results for the patients. So well in fact that this new take on patient care is spreading around the world. I hope to see facilities like this in my neighborhood soon as the problem is only growing.
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