Worldwide cases of dementia are set to triple to 115.4 million by 2050 according to a report by the World Health Organisation: England spends around £23 billion a year caring for the medical condition which is double what it spends on cancer and triple what it spends on heart disease.
But travel to the small Dutch town of Weesp (only a 26 mile trip from Amsterdam) and you will find a completely different approach to dealing with the issue. Hogeway, a gated model village hosts four acres of side-streets, sheltered court-yards, green squares, a piazza, well-looked-after gardens with ponds and reeds, wild flowers and 23 different homes. Residents have a large bedroom each and share a kitchen lounge and dining room; there is a cafe, restaurant, theatre, mini market and hair dressing salon and even an old fashioned sweet stall, that was painted and decorated by the residents themselves!
The nursing home encourages residents to continue the day-to-day tasks that they’re used to: gardening, shopping, laundry, cooking and so on. With 25 clubs including folksong, literature, baking, painting and cycling: the residents are rarely short of something to do! The workers at the home believe that keeping the residents active with tasks they are familiar with helps give them the feeling that they still have a full adult life that is under their own control.
Hogeway is a great example of helping people with dementia to still go about the tasks that they are used to – from going out, to completing housework, to going on holiday. Remember that preparation is a key too, for example making sure your family is fully covered for going on holiday is important groundwork. Indeed, AllClear has a thorough screening process for people travelling with a mental health condition which you could take a look at here