De Hogeweyk, operated by nursing home Hogewey, is a gated model village in Weesp, Netherlands. It has been designed specifically as a pioneering care facility for elderly people with dementia. The benefit of using all-day reminiscence therapy at Hogewey, compared to traditional nursing homes, is that the residents with dementia are more active and require less medication. The setting has been compared to that depicted in the film The Truman Show. Carers, doctors and nurses work around the clock to provide the 152 residents the necessary 24-hour care.
The Hogewey complex is set out like a village with a town square, supermarket, hairdressing salon, theatre, pub, café-restaurant—as well as the twenty-three houses themselves. Each house reflects a style that is common to, and familiar for, the six or seven people who live in that house. The seven settings provided are
- Stedelijk, for those used to living in an urban area
- Goois, with an aristocratic Dutch feel
- Ambachtelijk for those used to working as trades people or craftsmen/women
- Indisch for those with an association with Indonesia and the former Dutch East Indies
- Huiselijk for homemakers
- Cultureel for those brought up with theatre and cinema
- Christelijk for those with a central religious aspect to life, whether Christian or another religion.
The doctors, nurses and carers aim to make the experience as real as possible to the residents. Residents shop at the supermarket and assist with preparing and cooking as they would at home. The carers wear normal daytime clothing rather than clinical clothing and fit into a role that the dementia sufferers are likely to be comfortable with; in the working class households the carers are seen to be neighbours or carers, while in the aristocratic/upper class setting, the nurses act akin to servants. The living styles have different types of music playing, significantly varied interior design, food and methods of table setting. Residents in each house have their own large bedroom and meet with other residents to share the living room, kitchen and dining room. There are no locks on the doors, and residents are free to walk or cycle around the village, including choosing to visit the supermarket or cafe.
The village employs 250 staff.
To maintain the "fake reality" (hyperreality) that those living at Hogewey are comfortable with, the staff are instructed not to correct the residents as they talk about memories, background, and history. At the same time, the staff will not deceive the patients if directly asked, truthfully stating that the residents are in a place where they can receive required care for their condition. Because of the nature of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, the residents can remember the distant past but not the present, so even truthful answers given by the staff will be forgotten quickly.
The village came about in 1992, when Yvonne van Amerongen and another member of staff at a traditional nursing home had one of their parents die, being glad that their elderly parents had died quickly and had not had to endure hospital-like care. After a series of research and brainstorming sessions in 1993, they decided that people generally prefer to surround and interact with other like-minded people of similar backgrounds and experiences. The arrangement at Hogewey provides this by ensuring that residents with similar backgrounds continue to live closely together.
The Hogewey facility was designed by architects Molenaar&Bol&VanDillen, and opened in December 2009 on four acres of land. It consists of low two-story brick buildings, and amenities such as a supermarket and theatre. Construction of the new Hogewey facilities cost €19.3 million and was funded primarily by the Dutch government providing €17.8 million, plus €1.5 million in funding and sponsorship from local organisations.
The café–restaurant is to some extent open to the public and the theatre is hired by local businesses, both of which help with running costs. The cost per resident is similar to more traditional nursing homes at around €5,000 per month.
Amerongen is Hogewey's director of innovation at Vivium—the government-owned company that runs Hogewey. Because of the amount of foreign interest and foreign visitors, Vivium recruited an information officer for Hogewey.
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- Dementia Village 'De Hogeweyk' in Weesp, architectural designs and plans
- De Hogeweyk, Amsterdam, Weesp – NL
- CNN video feature on Hogeway