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August 28, 2018

Could the Netherlands’ Dementia Community Work Here?

The Netherlands developed an innovative dementia community. If you think about what you’ve grown up knowing and enjoying, it’s a world where you visit friends, go to a sports event or flea market, shop at stores, sit in the park, or eat at a restaurant. You come and go as you please. In Hogeweyk, that’s what people with dementia experience.

Most U.S. memory care facilities are set up with hallways connected to a main area. Rooms off the hallways all lead to the central area where a nurse’s station is located. Those rooms are usually studios, dining areas, and TV/game rooms. There’s nothing that stands out.

Hogeweyk is Different

Hogeweyk is set up to resemble a village, but it’s all enclosed. Seniors are free to stroll the grounds, enter the many buildings, walk in the park, go to a game, buy concessions at the concession stand, eat a meal with friends at a bar or restaurant, and much more. There are barbers and hair salons, a grocery store, and a town square. Group trips to zoos, theaters, pools, and amusement parks are arranged for residents.

Like any village, Hogeweyk has different sections of town and all cultures and interests are catered to. To do this, different “neighborhoods” are set up. For the artistic resident, the neighborhood looks like a traditional house. Residents are encouraged to help cook meals, discuss their past profession in the trades or world of art, and feel at home. Other “neighborhoods” include Christian, Culture, Upper Class, Homey, Urban, and Indonesian.

Each home has private bedrooms and shared community rooms like the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Staff members dress normally and blend in rather than dress like nursing staff. Caregivers know to never correct residents as to the current time or location. If the resident thinks it’s the 1960’s, staff will happily listen and discuss the resident’s experiences in that time.

In each apartment complex, residents have caregivers to help with meals and laundry. Residents are encouraged to embrace the lifestyle they did before dementia set in. Secure doors keep residents from getting outside the village and wandering away.

The U.S. is Slow to Duplicate the Idea

At this point, the U.S. hasn’t duplicated the concept of Hogeweyk. A similar concept has been designed in California, but it’s an adult day center only. Town Square is a place where people with dementia can go for the day to allow family caregivers to have a break or a safe place for a parent while they work.

If you’re caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s, senior care can be stressful. Your parent may resist your help. Your mom or dad may argue, become easily agitated, and refuse to do things like shower or take medication.

Make sure you have support. If you’re struggling to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s, call our senior care agency. Ask about respite senior care services and prevent caregiver burnout.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Berwyn IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.

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"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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