Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A VILLAGE FOR THOSE WITH DEMENTIA

Hogewey is a gated model village specially designed for dementia patients

After watching Dr Sanjay Gupta's documentary "Dementia Village" last Saturday night on CNN, my first thought was - if only there was such a village in Malaysia or Singapore!

In a speech at the 3rd Singapore International Neurocognitive Symposium, 5 April 2013, Singapore's Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, said that the country currently has about 28,000 elderly aged 60 years and above with dementia, and this is expected to more than double to 80,000 by 2030.

Figures for England and Wales
Singapore isn't alone in this. With global ageing, countries are seeing a huge rise in the number of people with dementia. The World Health Organization reports that worldwide, nearly 35.6 million people live with dementia. This number is expected to rise to 65.7 million by 2030, and more than triple to 115.4 million by 2050.

While most countries are still focusing on awareness, prevention and care-giving, the Netherlands has moved far ahead with new concepts on housing and lifestyles for those with dementia. In 2010 I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Dr Hans Becker, who heads the Humanitas Foundation. That was the first time I heard about his 'Apartments for Life'. Housing developers, including those in Singapore and Malaysia, are incorporating some of the features in their new projects.

Now there is Hogewey, a gated village of 23 houses, with each reflecting a certain lifestyle that the residents are accustomed to or wish to enjoy. Opened in December 2009, Hogewey has drawn worldwide attention for its innovative approach to providing dementia patients with a sense of 'living in the real world'. The village has its own shops, restaurants, theatres - just like in any village. The only difference is that no money exchanges hands. And of course, all the residents have dementia, with many in the advanced stage.

Dr Sanjay shares the five things he learned from his visit to Hogewey. Click here to read. And do watch the video to find out more about this Dementia Village.



In Malaysia, although we do have a residential care centre specifically for dementia patients, it is no way close to what Hogewey offers. Still, I am happy to have discovered Dementia Homecare Centre in Teluk Panglima Garang for my mother. She is happy with the place. It is clean and well-maintained. The staff have nursing experience and qualifications. Best of all, there is a daily schedule of activities, incorporating exercises, singing, and games. My only complaint is the name. Surely the directors can come up with something more inspiring.

You can read more about this homecare centre at the link below.

A Home Sweet Home for My Mom


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