There are several care home or nursing facilities around the world that specifically look after those suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s. The people who are admitted to these facilities are suffering from these ailments, and the staff provides them regular care.
However, most nursing homes on average a bit more on the depressing and boring side. They all seem to follow the same architectural design that looks more like a prison or a hospital than a place for living out the rest of your days in peace. Plus, the spaces for the patients look nothing like the homes the residents used to reside in.
Over the years, caring for people suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s has become increasingly more important. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of deaths related to Alzheimer’s and Dementia has risen 123%! In 2018 alone, both these diseases cost the US $288 billion in care! The stats show that one in three elderly people in the US will pass away form these diseases.
In order to better accommodate the increasing number of Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, as well as provide better care to these patients, many care centers are turning away from the traditional institutional design in favor of more village-based designs.
The idea behind villages is that a care center can be built into these small neighborhoods and have all the amenities and establishments that a regular neighborhood would provide.
Nord Architects is a company based in Copenhagen, and they have been designing and building a series of village-like centers for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, which feel more like little cities rather than depressing nursing homes.
One of their care centers is called “Alzheimer’s Village.” It is located in the southwestern part of France, and it comes with all kinds of facilities and services, such as a hair dresser, grocery stores, a library, etc. The shared facilities will also be available to the public as well.
There are similar projects springing up in Denmark and Norway based on the idea of villages over institutions. There is a new urban development being created in Odense, Denmark called Co-existence Village, which is all about integrating a dementia village into a residential neighborhood complete with family housing, youth housing, day care, cafes, playgrounds, and several businesses.
Projects like Co-existence village and Alzheimer’s village are breaking away from tradition and the need to put elderly people away into institutions. Instead, they’re being designed to be inclusive of all people, regardless of their abilities and disabilities. These villages are also helping the elderly patients better transition into a new care facility as they’re used to the type of environment that these villages provide.
My grandmother had really bad dementia and for the last couple of years of her life, she had to go into a care facility. It’s something that is near and dear to my heart, so I find it absolutely incredible that there is progress being made on how we handle those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. They really do deserve the most gentle and comforting care possible.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.