There's Something Very Unusual About This Little Village

There should be more places like this.

Imagine having to explain over and over why you can't remember people, or feeling lost every time you have to find your neighborhood grocery store. 

These are just a few of the frustrations someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease — a form of dementia causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior — might experience

Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops this debilitating illness. 

Though there is no cure for the degenerative disease, people can at least find relief in a little village in the Netherlands, made especially for seniors suffering from severe cases of Alzheimer's and dementia. 

The gated village in the town of Weesp takes up just one city block. It is called Hogewey.

It has 23 houses where 152 seniors live, aided by trained geriatric nurses and specialists.

According to Psychology Today, the staff wear normal clothing (instead of clinician's clothing) and call themselves "villagers." They are available around the clock to help the elderly residents. 

"If they [the residents] forget their wallet, no problem," explains Dale Archer M.D. on his Psychology Today blog. "If they get lost, there's always a 'villager' to help them get home, and if they load up with 20 cans of tomato sauce, an aide will return the extras to the grocery later that day." 

Residents of Hogewey live together in lifestyle groups that consist of about seven people with shared interests.

Hogewey's website explains that specialists try to make the residents' lifestyles as recognizable as possible by providing repetitive stimuli. Residents are challenged to continue participating in that lifestyle with maximum privacy and autonomy.

But not only do they get to manage their own households with the assistance of staff members, they also get to enjoy the many facilities offered in the village in a safe way. 

Just like any other neighborhood, Hogewey has streets, squares, a garden and a park.

It also has its own grocery store, movie theater, beauty salon, barber shop, restaurant, bar...

And this massive chessboard.

The facilities are not only open to residents, but also to people in surrounding neighborhoods, according to Hogewey's website. 

Given the quality of care, it's understandable that Hogewey has a long waiting list.

Psychology Today notes this way of treating Alzheimer's and dementia is groundbreaking, and that officials say it only takes a few weeks for Hogewey residents to show dramatic improvement.

Fortunately, Hogewey won't be the only one of its kind, as plans are already set in motion for a similar village to be built in Bern, Switzerland. One may even be built in the United States. 

(H/T: Bored Panda

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