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With an ageing population and a growing number of people living with dementia in the UK, dementia care continues to evolve as researchers try to improve treatments and care.
Based upon recent medical breakthroughs, a handful of medical centres have created unique dementia villages. The groundbreaking approaches adopted in these villages are becoming increasingly popular across the world - and they’re set to be replicated in the UK very soon.
Browse the best dementia care homes for your loved one.
A dementia village is specifically designed for elderly people with dementia. These pioneering care facilities are laid out to function as a regular village. Here, residents within these centres freely live seemingly normal lives, with access to restaurants, shops, hairdressers and other amenities like theatres and courtyards. Many dementia villages are also surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
Dementia villages are often run by carers who live on-site alongside their residents. This allows carers to support residents with middle and late-stage forms of dementia in the most effective way possible.
In living alongside their residents, carers can also monitor the progress made from this unique caring method which has already had an impressive impact on dementia research.
Dementia Village Associates (DVA) have taken an approach known as ‘the Dutch Model’. Their approach is based on improving quality of life wherever possible. This focus means that they personalise the services and care provided to residents - moving away from the ‘one size fits all’ packages of the past. As a result, residents have a bigger number of choices they can make surrounding what they want to do and what they’re used to.
DVA’s offering includes manageable and pleasant residential areas where everyone can comfortably live while feeling safe and at home. In a DVA dementia village, residents can spend their later years connected with their families, caregivers and healthcare providers.
“For those who have forgotten who they are. For those who no longer count time. For those to whom love and care is all that matters. DVA Dementia Village Associates creates custom living environments for seniors with and without dementia.”
Below, we’ve highlighted six of DVA’s listed dementia villages.
A dementia village requires a cultural shift in the way we think about caring for older adults. Many modern dementia facilities believe the focus should be on helping residents experience a normal and enjoyable social life - despite living with dementia - while still remaining physically healthy.
This cultural shift needs a person-centred focus from everyone involved in the dementia village.
The familiarity of Hudson Hill Dementia Village is designed to reduce residents’ confusion while creating an environment that promotes active participation in the community. Residents are also given opportunities to continue enjoying the activities they love.
|Name||Hudson Hills - Senior Living|
|Location||New Jersey - USA|
|Units||There are 72 dementia units, 24 service apartments and renovations of existing buildings|
|Year of Completion||2018|
Cuijkse Cantheelen is a residential care development with 97 care homes, 60 studios for residents with larger care needs and 49 regular homes (ground floor and apartments).
|Location||Cuijk - Netherlands|
|Units||There are 205 dementia units across dementia and service apartments, along with separate social HUBs|
|Year of Completion||2012|
At Alliade Meriant in the Netherlands, residents are encouraged to rediscover the lifestyle they possessed pre-dementia. Connecting the living environment to what people recognise from the past and are familiar with from their homes gives residents confidence and a sense of security.
People differ in their hobbies, social lives and other preferences, making it important to create different places within a living environment where residents can relax or be active in their free time. Here, they’ll meet other enthusiasts and like-minded individuals.
Meanwhile, residents have the freedom to use the outdoor environment as they wish. This is made possible through the clever design of the complex. The building encloses several buildings and outdoor areas, with one ‘open’ exit through the reception.
Alliade Meriant also emphasises the importance of society. Along with visits from family and friends, this dementia village tries to be as normal a neighbourhood as possible, with various indoor areas like a restaurant, theatre, hairdresser, wellness centre and workshop.
|Location||Heerenveen - Netherlands|
|Units||There are 80 dementia units and social HUBs|
|Year of Completion||2020|
DVA Aalborg can be found in the Danish city of Aalborg.
|Location||Aalborg - Denmark|
|Units||There are 72 units|
|Year of Completion||2015|
One of the most innovative dementia developments in recent years is the Villaggio Emanuele - a newly built residential structure in the Bufalotta area of Rome. This dementia village is entirely dedicated to people living with Alzheimer’s and replicates plenty of the success from Hogeweyk in the Netherlands.
This dementia village in Rome has created a safe and stimulating environment, suitable for improving the quality of life for people affected by serious illnesses. Family styles and ways of life are reproduced as much as possible. This alternative approach to dementia care is helping to better preserve the cognitive abilities of each resident.
The design of this dementia village is based on the qualities of any historical town or village, including common features like streets, squares, gardens, buildings and water.
|Location||Rome - Italy|
|Units||There are 100 units|
|Year of Completion||2018|
At DVA Berlin, lifestyles are designed around a social approach and other familiar building blocks. Residents are challenged to remain active, with the reward of recognisable incentives.
|Location||Berlin - Germany|
|Units||There are 110 units|
|Year of Completion||2018|
Located in the Netherlands, Hogeweyk is the only care facility of its kind in the world and houses over 150 people with severe forms of dementia. Set up by two nurses who feared having to put their own parents in a traditional nursing home, Hogeweyk Dementia Village is a place where residents can live seemingly normal lives, but are actually being watched by caregivers at all times. There are almost twice as many caregivers as residents in the village, and they staff everything from the shop to the hair salon.
For the safety of residents, there’s only one way in and out of Hogeweky - a locked door that’s under 24-hour surveillance. If a resident approaches this door, a caretaker may tell them this door is locked and suggest they look for a different door.
Residents can freely roam around, visit shops, get their hair done and take part in any of the 25 clubs available at Hogeweyk.
Along with psychological benefits, residents also experience benefits to their physical health. They take fewer medications, eat better and live longer.
Hogeweyk has paved the way for a new form of care in the Netherlands and has served as an inspiration to those looking for a way to humanise care - particularly dementia care.
Hogeweyk is the outcome of an innovative vision where care and wellbeing for people living with dementia were concerned. Instead of taking the form of a traditional dementia care home or nursing care home, the Hogeweyk is just like any other neighbourhood. In the Hogeweyk, you’ll find houses where people with similar lifestyles live together. These people can visit the pub, restaurant, theatre, supermarket or one of the numerous clubs on offer.
The Hogeweyk care concept fully supports unique needs, lifestyles and personal preferences. Living here puts boredom and feelings of isolation in a completely different light. The focus is on possibilities rather than disabilities.
The Hogewyk facility was opened in December 2009 across four acres of land. Construction of this village cost €19.3 million (or around £16.7 million), with the majority of this coming from Dutch government funding and the rest from local organisation funding.
Residents are only admitted to Hogeweyk if they’re categorised as having a ‘severe case of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease’. Vacancies are rare, given that a spot only becomes available when a current resident passes away. The village has operated at full or near-full capacity almost entirely since it opened in 2009.
The cost of care is nearly $8,000 (just under £7,000) a month, but the Dutch government subsidises residents to varying degrees - all of whom receive private rooms. The amount each family pays is based on income, but never goes over $3,600 (around £3,100).
Lottie matches care seekers with the best dementia care homes for their needs. You can also request a free care home shortlist from our care experts, who will share homes matching your budget and location.