A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

Categories: Europe | Health and Medicine

In the community of Vesp in the north of Holland there is an unusual settlement called Hogeweyk. 152 people live here permanently: they eat, sleep, walk, go to shops and restaurants. However, each of them is constantly monitored. This is because Hogevey is actually a medical institution, and all its inhabitants suffer from senile dementia.

This place evokes mixed feelings: on the one hand, this is a grandiose deception, as in the movie "The Truman Show", on the other — a completely innovative approach to the maintenance of patients.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

Hogevey is a quiet idyllic place with a couple of dozen cute houses, well—groomed front gardens, a cozy square, a small central square, a post office and even a theater.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

Locals — people of very advanced age — walk along the streets, go home with bags from the supermarket, talk leisurely over a cup of tea or coffee in a cafe. Sellers, cashiers, bartenders and even janitors have long known all the residents by face and name, smiling at them and waving from afar.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

However, video cameras are watching every resident of the village around the clock, and smiling workers are not at all what they seem. Everything is like in the famous movie "The Truman Show", with only one exception: everyone who works in the village is not actors, but doctors and junior medical staff.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

Hogevey's patients do not know that they are patients and are in a kind of nursing home. They live in their village in full confidence that they are at home. There are no wards here — the inhabitants of the village live in real houses, six or seven people in a house, each in a separate room.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

The interior of the houses is designed in strict accordance with the era, the memories of which are preserved in the memory of patients more or less clearly — whether it is the mid-1950s or early 2000s. This applies to everything — furniture, tablecloths, napkins, wallpaper pattern.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

Patients can freely walk around the neighborhood, admire trees and fountains, relax on benches. They communicate with each other, go to the post office and to the store, to the theater and cafe. They are constantly visited by relatives — many come to Hogevey almost every day.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

However, residents cannot leave the village. The two—storey houses in which they live are built in such a way that they form a solid wall - so you can't get lost or leave in Hogevey. If one of the patients accidentally approaches the only door in the perimeter, the health worker will politely explain to him that the door is locked now and it may be worth looking for another one.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

Yvonne van Amerongen, founder of the project

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

And in 2009, she managed to captivate government officials with her idea — after which a residential complex was created, covering an area of 1.5 hectares, in which there were 23 houses. The unique project is funded by the Government of the Netherlands.

A normal-looking Dutch village in which everyone suffers from dementia

Today, doctors from all over the world come to Hogevey. According to them, the local model of care for patients with dementia shows the best results. By the way, similar settlements are already being built in the UK and Switzerland. And the government says that putting an elderly person in such an environment is not only useful and humane, but also costs much cheaper than round-the-clock home care.

Keywords: Hospital | Holland | Dementia | Village | Pensioners | Old people

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