Innovative Alzheimer’s "Village” May Be a Model for the U.S.

An Alzheimer’s care facility in the Netherlands is modeled after a village, allowing patients to roam freely and safely, providing a possible model for facilities in the U.S.

As in other dementia-care facilities, patients at Hogeweyk are prevented from leaving for their own safety. However, within the complex, residents may roam freely, visiting parks and shops, such as a grocery store and restaurant staffed by Hogeweyk employees in street clothes.

The design of the facility improves residents’ quality of life by allowing them a degree of self-determination in their daily life. It also addresses the common problem of wandering: the residents of Hogeweyk may roam at will down the boulevard and paths while remaining safely inside the facility.

Each apartment in the facility hosts between six and eight people, including caretakers. Residents participate in cooking and cleaning, keeping to familiar routines that make them feel comfortable. Administrators say that the model provides residents with the care and safety they need, while giving them the maximum amount of freedom to make their own decisions about daily life.

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