Just a few minutes from downtown Amsterdam, on the outskirts of Weesp, Netherlands is a unique community that has a restaurant, hair salon, grocery store and even a movie theater, with only 152 residents. What makes this community unique is that the residents are not able to leave the four acre walled-up community and our being watched 24-7. Hogewey, also referred to as “Dementia Village”, is an innovative elder care facility where residents live in two story houses and our free to roam around the premises under the careful eyes of the well- trained staff.
To live in this leading edge health care facility, residents must have dementia that requires around-the-clock care. Family members who struggle to manage full-time care for their loved one with dementia find enormous relief in Hogewey; knowing their loved-one will be provided with stellar care. Family members are allowed to visit Hogewey for many hours each day, which helps residents feel like they are still at home.
This is the simple goal of Hogewey. To provide the most normal possible life, reminiscent of each individual’s former life.
For Yvonne van Amerongen, one of Hogewey’s founders, the need to create the small village was deeply personal.
“It was the moment my mother called me and told me my father had passed away suddenly,” she recalls. “Nothing was wrong with him. He just had a heart attack and he died. One of the first things I thought was, ‘Thank God he never had to be in a nursing home.’ That’s crazy that I have to think that! I’m in the management of a nursing home and I don’t want my father to come here.”
Van Amerongen gathered some of her colleagues in 1992 to discuss how to create a better more worthwhile health- care facility. Her vision was actualized when Hogewey opened in 2009.
The World Health Organization states that there are around 36 million people with dementia, with almost 8 million new cases each year. Van Amerongen and other founders of Hogewey hope that their comfortable yet protective community for dementia patients will replicate to other countries around the world. The facts are clear: On a physical level Hogewey residents need fewer medications, eat healthier and live longer. On a mental level, they seem happier. Although, joy is a difficult thing to measure, that is the main focus at Hogewey.
Downing, Jovarie. “‘Dementia Village’ Inspires New Care.” WIBW RSS. N.p., 15 July 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.