One of the main issues surrounding care for those with dementia is the safety of patients, but this can often lead to a reduction in freedom with people feeling like they are unable to continue with their day-to-day lives. That could soon become a thing of the past however, as more countries are embracing the concept of dementia villages, where patients are given the independence to roam freely and conduct ordinary tasks without direct supervision.
France is the latest country to commit to building one of these specialist residential complexes, dedicated to improving the lives of patients suffering from Alzheimers disease. The condition, which is the most common cause of dementia, is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that impacts memory, thinking skills and communication, as well as diminishing the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
Read more: The town that dementia built.
The village, in the southwestern city of Dax, will be based on international best-practice models, including De Hogeweyk village in the Netherlands, where residents have been found to live longer, eat better and take fewer medications.
The state-of-the-art centre will accomodate 120 patients – along with a team of 100 live-in carers and 100 volunteers – who will have the freedom to shop on the local high street, go to the hairdresser, visit the library and even hit the gym. Professor Jean-François Dartigues, neurologist at the Pellegrin university hospital in Bordeaux, told the Daily Telegraph that allowing patients to live in an almost normal setting helps “maintain participation in social life.”
Danish architecture firm, Nord Architects, also designed the village to resemble a medieval citadel, in a bid to reduce disorientation amongst residents as the issue of “wandering” is common amongst dementia sufferers, where a person becomes confused or disoriented either before they walk somewhere or during a walk.
Glenview CEO Lucy O’Flaherty said the village model aimed to provide real life experiences for those with the disease. She told the ABC: “For us, this is actually about providing a service for those people that can’t afford to get into a service that might be bells and whistles that would cost dollars.
“They’ll have staff that will [take part in] discreet observation, there will be technology, the design of the facility will be as such that it will support residents within the village.”
Korongee will significantly differ from standard aged-care facilities on offer, with its shared six-bedroom homes being staffed by casually-dressed health professionals, and residents will be matched together according to their backgrounds, experiences, interests and skills.