The Netherlands has built a dementia village modelled after Dutch society to trigger patients’ memories and help them stay independent. With regular access to fresh air, exercise and social contact, patients feel as though they are living normal lives. Prescription drug use has fallen 42% since the facility was converted from a traditional care home.
Results & Impact
Prescription drug use has fallen sharply since the institution opened: In 1993, when the dementia village was still a nursing home, 50% of patients were on anti-psychotics. By 2015 only 8% of Hogeweyk patients were taking drugs for their condition. In the Netherlands, one in five people over 65 suffers from Alzheimer's
Vivium Care Group, the Dutch government
Hogeweyk lets dementia patients lead fuller, more autonomous lives by using all day reminiscence therapy. The institute reports that residents have better cognitive and functional capacity with regular access to fresh air, exercise and social contact. Because they are in an entirely enclosed, safe village, they can be freer to go around by themselves
Weesp, the Netherlands
The elderly, patients
Cost & Value
Hogeweyk cost $25.2 million in startup costs
Running since 2009
The dementia village is expensive to build and maintain. Opening shops to outsiders and renting out the village theatre helps offset costs
Hogeweyk has inspired similar facilities in the US, Ireland, the UK, Denmark and Switzerland
The Netherlands has built the first dementia care home designed to mirror a real-world village, where patients live in an enclosed facility complete with a supermarket, theatre, restaurant and park.
Hogeweyk is operated by Vivium Care Group in partnership with the Dutch government, which covered $22 million of the programme’s $25.2 million startup construction up costs. The government also subsidises monthly payments for families, which cuts their costs from about $8,000 to $3,600. The Netherlands spends 3.7% of its GDP on long-term care for the elderly – the highest of all OECD countries.
Since its 2007 launch, the Weesp, Netherlands project has inspired similar facilities in the US, Ireland, the UK, Denmark and Switzerland.
Hogeweyk’s “all day reminiscence therapy” concept is predicated on the theory that people with dementia typically struggle with unfamiliar spaces, scents and colours. By surrounding patients with familiar settings, dementia sufferers become more comfortable – and, according to Hogeweyk outcomes, are able to live more independent lives as a result.
Hogeweyk reports that prescription drug use has fallen sharply since the institution opened. In 1993, when dementia village was a nursing home, 50% of patients were on anti-psychotics. By 2013, that number had fallen to 16%, and in 2015 only 8% of Hogeweyk patients were prescribed drugs.
According to Hogeweyk, residents have markedly better cognitive and functional capacity. With regular access to fresh air, exercise and social contact, patients feel as though they are living a normal life.
Typically, people with dementia are confined to care homes where they have little autonomy. One in every five people over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s in the Netherlands, making it one of the biggest healthcare costs in the country.
There are about 150 patients living in 23 homes, which are grouped by lifestyle – from “goois” (upper class) to “cultural” – designed to emulate their former routines.
The village is fully enclosed, allowing residents freedom in a protected environment. They are encouraged to part in group activities like baking, playing music, painting, gardening and cooking, and manage their own homes, for the most part. Two hundred and fifty plainclothes nursing staff take care of the rest.
All retail shops are open to residents of the public as well as patients, which both helps fund the project and increases the “real world” quotient of the facility. Vivium also rents out the village theatre for conferences and performances.
(Picture credit: Vivum)