A self-contained village in the Netherlands called De Hogeweyk is designed to protect people who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Called Dementia Village, the center allows its inhabitants to shop, cook and socialize safely. Dutch architects Molenaar & Bol & Van Dillen designed the project to create a high level of normalcy for residents without putting them at risk.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every third elderly person dies with dementia. Daily functioning can be a hard and confusing thing for both patients and their families, but Hogeweyk eases that burden by providing patients with a self-contained world that offers everything they’re used to. Albeit closed to the outside with gates and fences for safety reasons, the center still has cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, gardens and more.
While designed by the architecture team, Yvonne van Amerongen, a caregiver with extensive experience with patients with memory issues, was the first to propose the idea of a self-contained village. In the early 1990s she and a group of other caretakers started researching and designing an optimal home for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. They were looking to provide an acceptable and human alternative to conventional homes for this specific type of patient.
People suffering from dementia have a hard time coping with unfamiliar places, colors and designs, which is why the Hogeweyk apartments were designed in six different ways to feel more familiar to people with different backgrounds. The “genres” are: upperclass, homey, Christian, artisan, Indonesian, and cultural. Each apartment within the complex can accommodate six to eight people, including caretakers. The complex opened in 2009 and has since inspired similar projects to come to life.