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Dementia Village

'Dementia Village' offers natural alternative to soul-crushing nursing homes

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by: Sarka-Jonae Miller
Tags: Dementia Village, Alzheimer''s, elderly care

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(NaturalNews) A small village in the Netherlands just outside of Amsterdam provides a home for people with dementia, a place that doesn't confine them to a small area or force them to live in sterile hospital conditions. Residents need fewer medications and are able to live in comfortable apartments tailored to their individual style. Nicknamed "Dementia Village," this revolutionary place provides patients with a hometown, somewhere they can live out their lives like normal people. Residents can go to the grocery store or catch a movie without the risk of wandering off.

Life in Dementia Village

The elder care facility's proper name is Hogeway. It has around 150 residents and is fully staffed with caregivers, only the staff dresses in plain clothes. They're the people working at the grocery store, hair salon, theater, restaurants, and apartment homes, everywhere that the patients go so no one is at risk.

The caretakers don't lie to the patients. They are honest with them about the village's purpose, but most residents forget the information quickly afterward. A perimeter wall keeps anyone from getting lost and staff members guard the exits, gently directs patients away so no one accidentally leaves the village and ends up in Amsterdam's infamous red light district. Most of the time patients simply go about their lives, doing the normal things people do on a day-by-day basis, never realizing that they are surrounded by nurses and being monitored. And yet, again, they are not lied to.

The village not only creates an enjoyable place for patients to live in normalcy, it also takes a major burden off family members who don't want to put their loved ones in a home. The people who qualify for living at Dementia Village are the ones who would need round the clock care were they to live at home, the kind of care most people cannot afford. Although it cost nearly $25 million to build, living at Hogeway is cheaper than in-home care and eliminates the worry that one day the person with dementia might simply disappear.

Hogeway offers exclusive benefits

Residents live in dorm style homes with one of six different designs meant to closely match the style individuals prefer. They can visit friends and receive guests. Everything is set up to cater to their needs. Residents are reported to be more relaxed and happier living in Hogeway, and thus require less medication.

The set up is particularly beneficial since people affected by dementia feel an urge to wander. This could possibly be because walking is one of the best things for Alzheimer's patients, according to research, and Alzheimer's is the number one cause of dementia. At Hogeway, patients can stroll around the landscaped grounds and walk to the various places in town.

Researchers claim that in addition to helping prevent Alzheimer's, walking slows the progression of the disease. Walking as little as five miles per week could decrease the risk of a person's condition worsening.

But walking isn't just beneficial for Alzheimer's patients. People who are starting to show signs of forgetfulness or mild cognitive impairment, half of whom develop Alzheimer's, can also benefit from walking. One study found that the brain structures related to memory and learning in people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's were protected when participants walked five miles each week. Walking slowed memory loss as well.

With dementia cases on the rise, creative solutions like Dementia Village offer hope to people worried about the standard of living for family members or their future selves. Although not a perfect solution, Hogeway could serve as a model that allows dementia patients to live out their lives with dignity.

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About the author:
Sarka-Jonae Miller is a former personal trainer and massage therapist. She has a journalism degree from Syracuse University. Sarka-Jonae currently writes romantic comedy novels and romantic erotica under the same SJ Miller.
Get more health and wellness tips from SJ's natural health Twitter feed or from SJ's Facebook page.
SJ's books can be found on Amazon.

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