HOME IS WHERE THE MIND IS
Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can live like they used to, in this self-contained world.
No matter how well-equipped or comfortable our ailing and aged loved ones claim to be, none of us are ever really keen on sending them – or, in the future, ourselves – to a nursing home.
The homes are simply too far removed from day-to-day reality, with strict lockdown rules to protect those affl icted with dementia or Alzheimer’s from wandering off and accidentally hurting themselves. Who wants to live out their last chapters of life surrounded by strangers and strange things?
That was exactly what former nursing-home manager Yvonne van Amerongen thought, so she and some colleagues decided to build an entire “village” for memory-impaired folks. Based in the small town of Weesp, in the Netherlands, the village/ facility of De Hogeweyk occupies 1.5ha and includes 23 housing units.
It may look like a cold fortress, since gates and security fences are obviously still necessary, but walk inside and you’ll see a little replica of the world we know: restaurants, landscaped greenery, cafes, salons, supermarkets, gardens and even a theatre. All are available to residents to freely patronise in complete safety, as caretakers are disguised as staff in the shops.
These watchful eyes will also look after grams and pappy in their homes, acting as roommates in themed apartments. That’s right, there are seven different styles – such as crafts, culture, religious and