Dementia is a terrible disease that causes problems to one’s memory, thinking and behaviour. As there’s no cure for the disease, it will only become worse as the time pass.
As such, elderly people with dementia are usually sat in front of television for long hours to prevent them from roaming around. Some are even heavily sedated for their own safety. But this also means that they’ve lost their freedom and are leading meaningless lives.
So in 2009, a ‘fake’ small town known as Hogeweyk in Netherlands was built with the sole purpose of giving back a meaningful life to the old folks. Fake because the ‘civilians’ there are care-takers!
Inside this small town which is basically a big nursing home, there are 23 houses to accommodate 152 residents with severe dementia which required 24 hours attention and assistance.
The care-givers disguised themselves as civilians and live among the old folks so assistance can be provided just in time. So even if the old folks roamed around the town and forgot where they lived, the kind-hearted ‘civilians’ will guide them back to their home.
To ensure the life in the Hogeweyk is as realistic as the real world, the small town is equipped with a theatre, garden, hair saloon, grocery store, restaurant and even a bar! Needless to say, all the staffs are care-givers.
Since people with dementia have problems with calculations, there’s no transaction in the town. This means that even if they leave the shop without paying for the groceries, nobody will stop them.
A waiter was also seen patiently waiting on an elderly man who took half an hour to make up his mind about what to order.
A survey done by CNN has revealed that the old folks there are happier, and healthier as they required less medication compared to when they were living in an ordinary nursing home.
Of course it’s not cheap to run Hogeweyk as the staffs outnumber the patients by 2 to 1. It was reported that 19.3 million Euros (RM91129,600) was spent to build this nursing home. Despite the cost, many countries such as America, Canada, Italy and Germany have started adopting this idea.
Although some netizens said that the nursing home is ‘fooling’ the old folks by making them thinking that they are living in a normal society in a real world, but at least they are happy right? Much better than having to deal with keyboard warriors or SJWs anyway!