Explore the world’s first “Dementia Village”

  The Netherlands opened a special nursing home for Alzheimer’s patients: 250 employees are all “liars” and 24-hour monitoring is implemented, but the elderly are rushing to live and don’t even want to leave. The survey found that the elderly living here took less medicine and were even happier than the elderly living in general nursing homes. What is the secret?
  The movie “The World of Truman” tells that Truman, who is in his 30s, has been living in a small town. Until one day, he was surprised to find that he had actually been living in a studio, and every detail of his life was a preset plot. Based on this, the Netherlands opened a nursing home for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (commonly known as senile dementia): 250 employees are all “liars”, and 24-hour monitoring is implemented, but the elderly are rushing to live in it, and they don’t even want to leave.
  The world’s first “Alzheimer’s Village”
   One day, Yvonne Ameron, an employee of an old nursing home in the Netherlands, suddenly had the idea of ​​creating a new nursing home. After that, a “prop village” comparable to “The Truman Show” – Hogewey Village was born.
   Hogewey Village, located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is the world’s first “Dementia Village”. Here, there are no wards, high walls, guards and doctors. Instead, there are supermarkets, post offices, bars, cafes, cinemas, and squares. Residents can even invite relatives and friends to hold banquets here.
   It looks like an ordinary village, but the residents inside are all elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. There is only one entrance and exit to the village, and residents are under 24-hour surveillance cameras. A commissioner secretly observes in case something happens.
   There are 250 part-time and full-time medical staff in the village, and their training is to focus on emphasizing what residents can do, rather than what they can’t do. Medical staff dressed up as cashiers, couriers, gardeners, etc., “lurking” in every corner of the village. Once an accident occurs to an elderly person, they will immediately resume their work so that the elderly can receive the care they deserve.
   In the village, 6 to 7 elderly people form a family unit. Residential houses have different themes – culture, city, handicrafts, etc., for the elderly with different living habits to choose, so that they can keep their original lifestyle as much as possible. In the room, the furniture is also arranged according to the old people’s memory, and even the tablecloths are in a style they are familiar with, because it will make them feel at home.
   Different from the environment created by traditional sanatoriums where you can reach out for your clothes and open your mouth for food, residents in the village need to cook, clean their rooms, and shop by themselves… In order to create a real sense of living space, the staff will issue internal currency to the residents , allowing them to purchase needed supplies by themselves.
  It is understood that most of the funding for Hogewey comes from the Dutch government. The monthly cost of living here is US$8,000 (approximately RMB 56,000), but the government will give residents different degrees of subsidies, but none of them will exceed US$3,600 (approximately RMB 25,200).
   In 2013, CNN visited Hogewey Village and found that the elderly living in the village took less medicine and were even happier than those living in general nursing homes.
  France’s “Alzheimer Village”
   At present, there is an average of one new Alzheimer’s patient every 3 seconds in the world. It is estimated that by 2030, there will be 82 million people with dementia.
  Since the opening of Hogewey Village, experts from the United States, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Germany, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Australia and other countries have come to learn from them, hoping to solve the problem of elderly care for patients with dementia.
   In 2020, in Dax, in the Landes department of France, the country’s first living village specially designed for people with dementia began to operate. According to reports, the living village is named “Alzheimer Village” and is designed entirely based on the daily needs of Alzheimer’s patients, with the purpose of allowing them to live here as if they were at home, in order to alleviate symptoms. One of the initiators of the plan and the former head of the Social Mutual Aid Department of Lande Province, Lakos said that there are about 200 staff members in the whole village, but no medical staff in white can be seen. This non-medical treatment method ensures the privacy and autonomy of patients.
   Different from the Netherlands, the “Alzheimer Village” is very close to the city center and is divided into 4 areas with different atmospheres around the central square. Patients are assigned to live in different areas according to their preferred activities. According to the plan, there are 7 to 8 people living in each house in the village, and a caregiver is responsible for taking care of them, but the residents do the cooking, washing and drying, and cleaning by themselves. Usually, residents can take a walk, shop, watch a play, plant flowers and plants in the village, and go to the mini farm to contact animals, etc., and need to pay about 60 euros (about 420 yuan) per day.
   Madeleine Elsald, in her 80s, was one of the first people to move into the village in June 2020. She said she loves the house she lives in, it feels like home and she feels well cared for.
   Lakos said that since the start of the experiment, symptoms such as anxiety and depression among residents in the village have been significantly reduced.
  Nanjing will have the country’s first “Alzheimer’s Village”
   Data shows that among the elderly aged 60 and above in China, there are about 15 million Alzheimer’s patients.
  In 2019, a variety show called “Can’t Forget the Restaurant” made people focus on this group. In the show, entertainers join hands with several Alzheimer’s patients to run a restaurant together. The name of the restaurant is “Unforgettable”, but there, “forgetting” happens every moment.
   Grandpa Xiao Min, who is in his 70s, is one of the employees. He once wrote to invite his best friend to the restaurant as a guest. But after the old friend was invited to come, Grandpa Xiao Min passed by him several times. The old friend looked at Grandpa Xiao Min and couldn’t help asking him: “Do you know me? My surname is Wang.” Grandpa Xiao Min thought for a long time before calling out the old friend’s name in surprise. At this point, the old friend could no longer hold back his tears.
   In reality, there are many similar cases. Lao Liu, a 70-year-old technician, used to be good at repairing all kinds of electrical appliances. But in just a few years, he gradually became ignorant of electrical appliances, and he couldn’t even understand the wiring diagram. The family members thought it was because he was old, until he finally couldn’t even recognize his family’s face, so he was sent to the hospital and finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
   Mrs. Wang in Nanjing has been living with her son and daughter-in-law. One day, she frantically rummaged through things at home and said that her money was missing. Her son and daughter-in-law searched for her at home, but they found several hundred yuan under the pillow, and several hundred yuan in the coat pocket of the closet… It turned out that Mrs. Wang suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and forgot to put her own money. where is it. Since that incident, Mrs. Wang has been crying about losing her money almost every day, even thinking that her son and daughter-in-law stole her money.
   In this context, in 2018, the “China Alzheimer’s Village” project was launched and settled in Yuhuatai District, Nanjing. Rui Guoxing, the person in charge of the project’s operation agency, said that the “Alzheimer Village” is currently under construction. It is a courtyard house covering an area of ​​20 mu and can accommodate 250 patients. As a venue for the rehabilitation of cognitive impairments, it has a safe and free space, with details of treatment, rehabilitation, and life differentiation. There are professional doctors, nurses, nutritionists, psychologists, volunteers, etc., who will conduct a comprehensive assessment of Alzheimer’s patients Start rehabilitation training. The project is mainly aimed at the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s patients, and relieves their symptoms through relevant training.