SUPPORT FOR OLDER ADULTS WITH MEMORY LOSS AND THEIR FAMILIES

An Unreal Approach to Alzheimer’s Care

Hogewey, an amazing “village” on the outskirts of Amsterdam transports its residents back to the 1950s… literally.  In this faux city of manicured streets, there is a grocery, cafe, coffee shop, restaurant, beauty salon and barber shop. The 152 residents of Hogewey all have advanced dementia, and this faux village is a treatment facility that prioritizes reminiscence therapy.

Reminiscence therapy involves the exploration of past activities, events, and experiences with the aid of tangible prompts from the past. This approach to connecting and reassuring people with memory loss has long been hailed as invaluable cognitive stimulation.

According to founders of Hogewey, residents show improved wellbeing, require less medication and become calmer after only weeks in the village. Naturally, the wait for new admission is long, but relatives of the village dwellers praise Hogewey and are happy to share their stories. CNN reported on Hogewey, the video is below. This same group is currently developing the first Alzheimer Village in Italy for 100 residents.

In San Diego, a scaled version of city hall, circa 1953-1961 is currently under construction for a very similar purpose. “Town Square” will be built inside an 11,000-square-foot industrial building, where small groups of participants will be guided through a day-program. The square’s 25 three-dimensional storefronts and models are decorated with functional period interiors that provoke reminiscence of a time when participants thrived.

This $3 million concept was funded by the Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers, a nonprofit who aspire to make Town Square a reality. “The thought process of reminiscence therapy is it helps reduce agitation, improve mood and improve sleep quality. That translates to a better experience for the participant and especially for the family caregivers, who are the silent victims in this whole thing,” said Scott J. Tarde, Executive Director of Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers. Read the full story HERE.

At OPICA we understand the value of reminiscence therapy and we incorporate this approach in our Adult Day Program.

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