In the Netherlands there is a wonderfully unique village for residents diagnosed with advanced dementia. The village, Hogeweyk, is located on 4 acres and is built so that residents may come and go within the village as they want. The vision of the village is for residents to live their life as normal as possible. To accomplish this each resident lives in a home with 4-5 others. Each home has its own caregivers assigned to that group of residents.

Something I found particularly interesting is the determination of which home a resident will live in. The homes are divided into lifestyle groups. Those groups are urban, homely, cultural, affluent, traditional, Indonesian, formal, craftsman and Christian. Each potential resident is given a lifestyle questionnaire prior to moving in. Therefore, the facility can match the resident best to their normal lifestyle. The lifestyle of the home is reflected in the decor, culinary choices, communication, and daily activities.

The village is built around a park with a pond, and a village square. Within the square there is a grocery store, theater restaurant and cafe. Residents are welcome to shop, walk, eat or drink as they like. This again, simulates a more normal life. In the grocery store they may shop and “purchase” food. No money is exchanged to decrease confusion. What I find even more amazing is that Hogeweyk is a government-funded facility. They operate within the same budget any other government facility is allotted. Hopefully more facilities for patients with dementia will follow their lead and create normal, deinstitutionalized homes for those with dementia.