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Going Dutch

We recently travelled to the Netherlands to experience two care facilities with a very different way of supporting people with dementia. Accompanied by Rachel Bisiker, Project Manager for Estates in Avery, we braved the bright but very cold weather to visit two leading and world-class care locations.

De Hogeweyk and Vivium Torendael are known as Dementia Villages where people with moderate through to advanced dementia are supported to continue to live an active, independent and fulfilling life within a homely and familiar community.

Going Dutch dementia care villages

The original purpose-built dementia village, de Hogeweyk, was opened 10 years ago. The village provides accommodation for up to 152 residents, living in self-contained apartments for up to 8 people which are known as ‘neighbourhoods’. A few miles away in an urban area in the south of Amsterdam, Vivium Torendael is a former nursing home that has been transformed over the past three years using the de Hogeweyk model, offering accommodation for a total of 130 people living with dementia.

In both settings, caregivers support residents to be part of every aspect of day-to-day home living, including ordering groceries for the neighbourhood, cooking meals together and being involved in all day-to-day routines. Within each community, there is a theatre, well-stocked supermarket and a variety of activity areas including a games room, music rooms and a craft studio. Residents are actively encouraged to move freely inside their neighbourhood and outside in the village grounds, and families are able to visit whenever they wish.

At Avery, our ReConnect strategy already helps our care teams to use some of these principles every day. Life Story work supports our staff teams’ understanding of our residents, and our environments are continually being developed to ensure that recognisable features provide a sense of familiarity and normality that residents with dementia need.

Throughout 2019 we will be continuing to work hard to make sure that all our residents living with dementia can continue to live their established lives in the ways that they wish.

Article by Jo Crossland, Head of Dementia Care, for Welcome Home Issue 9.

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