Hogeweyk, a village for everyone

| Helen Sharp

We love hearing about dementia projects with a difference, therefore, we were excited to come across Hogeweyk, a village in Holland like no other. Hogeweyk’s residents go to the shop, play bingo and chat on the street. The difference is that Hogeweyk is a nursing home for people with dementia, disguised to look like the outside world.

The fact that a resident cannot function “normally” in certain areas…does not mean that they no longer have a valid opinion on their day to day life and surroundings.

Hogeweyk started out as a typical hospital-style nursing home but the staff began to feel that there was a more humane and caring way to support the people living with them. They asked themselves ‘what would we want for ourselves and our parents’ and the general consensus was normalcy.

Normalcy in Hogeweyk means residents have their own space and are able to help manage the household with the support of staff. In everything they do, they are supported to play an active role in village life to preserve their sense of autonomy.

They are able to live with others who share the same ideas and values in life by choosing to live in one of seven ‘lifestyle’ houses defined as: urban, artisan, Indonesian, homey, Goois, cultural and Christian. These lifestyles are distinguished by the decor and layout of the house itself as well as the interaction between the residents and day-to-day activities that take place. Residents are able to move freely inside and outside, and a great deal of emphasis is placed on their ability to choose – even down to the relatively simple choice of whether they would like sugar in their coffee everyday.

The village is laid out like any other. It has streets, squares, gardens and a park where the residents can safely roam free. Hogeweyk offers a selection of facilities, like a restaurant, a bar and a theatre. These can be used by Hogeweyk residents and residents of the surrounding neighbourhoods. Everybody is welcome to come in!

Photo by Chris Lawton

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