Dementia can be a crippling condition for those that suffer from it. For many, it severely limits the things that they can do and reduces their quality of life. However, it’s been proven that when individuals suffering from dementia are given the freedom to do things that they enjoy doing in environments that are familiar to them and among people that watch out for them, they can live incredibly fulfilling lives. This was showcased in the Netherlands, where their “dementia villages” have become an international model for providing dementia patients with freedom within a safe and structured environment.
Such structured environments did not exist before for those suffering from dementia. Many people simply did not know how to handle those that suffered from dementia other than by levying restrictions on their day-to-day lives as a way to protect them. However, the success of the dementia villages in the Netherlands has led many people in the U.S., as well as in England, to explore ways in which they can create a dementia-friendly environment in which those suffering from dementia can still remain involved in both social and cultural activities, thereby maintaining their quality of life.
A Familiar Environment
The dementia village in the Netherlands is a residential facility outside of Amsterdam that looks like a normal community—it boasts parks, a post office, a restaurant, a grocery store and other amenities that elderly residents with dementia can use at their pleasure. There are 152 residents with moderate dementia that live in groups of six or eight along with one or two caretakers. There’s only one door out of the town, thereby limiting the risk of residents wandering away. The familiar environment created by the dementia village may be more restrictive than typical communities, but it provides dementia patients with more freedom than they typically have, thereby allowing them to maintain some semblance of independence.
Whether or not dementia villages are set up in the U.S., the country can certainly learn many lessons from their success. For more information regarding advancements in dementia and other health issues, be sure to visit The Benefits Store today.
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