In the village of Weesp, not far from Amsterdam rests another village within a village, called De Hogeweyk – so called a Dementia Village. Certainly not a traditional institutional setting; “the rules don’t dominate the situation”, says Jill O’Donnell President of Iris For Seniors. On her 2014 visit to Holland, Jill made a b-line to De Hogeweyk to see how this model for elder life care, (with specific focus on those with those with dementia), worked.
What impressed me when I first heard about De Hogeweyk, was the concept of community integration, built on creative architecture, landscaping and interior design. It sounded more like a continuum of a larger community rather than a big box care facility. Even though somewhat gated, Jill observed, “… there is a great deal of interaction between the people in this community and the surrounding village of Weesp.”
Based on her tour there, Jill remarked, “People from the community are encouraged to have coffee in the Coffee Shop or a meal in the Restaurant as my husband and I did the day we visited De Hogeweyck. People are encouraged to bring their bicycles and ride them throughout the village. They can also attend events in the theatre.”
A bigger picture contains more than the urban amenities that Jill describes. You can see from the De Hogeweyk website, it is drawn from the concept of reminiscence therapy; in this case, seven thematic lifestyle models to choose from.
Urban, cultural, artisan – or what would suit your reminiscence?