This article explores the concept behind Hogeweyk, a village opened in 2009 in the Netherlands where every resident has dementia.
Hogeweyk features 23 houses and caters for 152 older people with one thing in common - they all have dementia.
The residents manage their own households, aided by a team of staff, with washing and cooking carried out in each of the houses and grocery shopping done in the on-site supermarket.
Designed by architects Molenaar&Bol&VanDillen to promote independence, the facility offers seven different lifestyles including Christian, cultural, homey and artisan.
Changing the face of dementia design
Hogeweyk is increasingly being used as a benchmark for a growing number of ground-breaking dementia villages around the world. A spokesman for Hogeweyk said, “We are inspiring many to change the care model from medical focused to a more-social relational model.”
Projects include Rome and Brisbane and locations in the Uk. Mountfield Park is a project currently being planned for Canterbury.
A philosophically-radical yet simple ethos
The spokesman added, “The Hogeweyk concept embraces a simple-yet-important tenet that individuals with dementia are not oriented to time and place, often not understanding what is happening around them. We have departed from the traditional nursing home environment because it adds to their confusion in a myriad of ways."
A physically-friendly environment
"In Hogeweyk the focus is on normal recognisable design, creating what we term ‘a living environment' for people with dementia.
“It is sometimes underestimated just how complicated it is to implement normal life in the care-focused systems seen around the world. It’s about normalising environments and transforming and deinstitutionalising them, focusing on the human scale, social inclusion, vibrant society and looking at what people living with dementia really want and need in their last years of their life.”
Not only does the environment help people to stay independent, but it can also have a direct impact on behaviour and wellbeing.
“Traditional nursing homes are completely different than one’s home environment. They routinely confine individuals in the limited spaces within their walls, have established and inflexible routines, and are often chaotic, loud and impersonal” said the spokesman.
“The added confusion then results in behavioural disturbances and as such, the traditional environment has an iatrogenic effect on the person with dementia.
“The Hogeweyk is technically licensed as a psycho-geriatric nursing home under Dutch law, but there is little to the eye that resembles a nursing home”.