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The Dutch Village (really assisted living) Where Everyone Has Dementia
Old 11-17-2014, 09:28 PM   #1
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The Dutch Village (really assisted living) Where Everyone Has Dementia

This is interesting, and a novel way to address assisted living for dementia patients.

The Dutch Village Where Everyone Has Dementia - The Atlantic

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Today, the isolated village of Hogewey lies on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the small town of Wheesp. Dubbed “Dementia Village” by CNN, Hogewey is a cutting-edge elderly-care facility—roughly the size of 10 football fields—where residents are given the chance to live seemingly normal lives. With only 152 inhabitants, it’s run like a more benevolent version of The Truman Show, if The Truman Show were about dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Like most small villages, it has its own town square, theater, garden, and post office. Unlike typical villages, however, this one has cameras monitoring residents every hour of every day, caretakers posing in street clothes, and only one door in and out of town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe. Friends and family are encouraged to visit.
The housing setup here is really interesting. Homes are decorated, and set up as group living facilities, for the period in which the patient best recalls living, so as to make them feel more at home, and living with peers. Check out the article.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:48 PM   #2
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I especially love the part where care workers pose in other roles to establish an atmosphere of normalcy. Looking back, Dad's worst moments as he coped with his failing memory were the times when he felt demeaned by the need to have people looking after him.

As a young man I worked in an old-school nursing home with its corridors, funny smells and nurses stations. Dad spent most of his institutionalized time in a ranch-style facility with a hall that ran in a circle. The commons area had a kitchen, a lounge with fireplace and dining area. It was a big step forward, but still, it came down to the "inmates" and the "keepers."

It takes a lot of creative thinking to suggest an alternative to that, because that's the reality. But along come the Dutch, creating an alternative reality for the benefit of the patients. If there was a Nobel prize for humanity, this would qualify.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:30 PM   #3
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The Dutch are pretty smart about end of life care, including euthanasia. If I could speak the language, I would be tempted to move to the Netherlands.
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:33 PM   #4
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The Dutch are pretty smart about end of life care, including euthanasia. If I could speak the language, I would be tempted to move to the Netherlands.
From the Wiki -

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Research states that about 86% of the Dutch population claims to be able to converse in English
English in the Netherlands - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-18-2014, 03:48 AM   #5
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Everytime I visited Amsterdam I never had a language problem as everyone seemed to speak English just fine, from lil' kids to seniors.
Of course I was just there for the tulips!
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:03 AM   #6
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Pretty much everyone speaks English very well. With a funny accent though.

In the major cities (major as in >200k people) there are also a bunch of expats everywhere. Amsterdam is very international, Rotterdam and The Hague as well.

For those who still need to earn money you can get employed at mega-corp even if you don't speak the language. And there is a generous expat tax ruling the first 8 years, so you'll escape the heavy tax burden at least in the beginning. Only if you work here though, not as retiree. I know several people who worked here for 5 or more years and still hardly speak a word of Dutch.

Making friends though is quite a bit tougher here than in the US, but it can be done. Easier than Spain, certainly Belgium, maybe even Germany I heard (you need to speak German there).

And since population density is quite high, don't expect to find cheap housing or wide open nature. Also, it's as flat as a pancake. Healthcare is arranged very well and accessible for all. Depending on where you live, you don't need a car. Just as well, it's insanely expensive to have one.

Not sure about the immigration rules though as a US citizen.
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:03 AM   #7
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The Dutch are pretty smart about end of life care, including euthanasia. If I could speak the language, I would be tempted to move to the Netherlands.
Just about everyone speaks English. Most of them better than some Americans.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:27 AM   #8
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Pretty much everyone speaks English very well. With a funny accent though.

In the major cities (major as in >200k people) there are also a bunch of expats everywhere. Amsterdam is very international, Rotterdam and The Hague as well.

For those who still need to earn money you can get employed at mega-corp even if you don't speak the language. And there is a generous expat tax ruling the first 8 years, so you'll escape the heavy tax burden at least in the beginning. Only if you work here though, not as retiree. I know several people who worked here for 5 or more years and still hardly speak a word of Dutch.

Making friends though is quite a bit tougher here than in the US, but it can be done. Easier than Spain, certainly Belgium, maybe even Germany I heard (you need to speak German there).

And since population density is quite high, don't expect to find cheap housing or wide open nature. Also, it's as flat as a pancake. Healthcare is arranged very well and accessible for all. Depending on where you live, you don't need a car. Just as well, it's insanely expensive to have one.

Not sure about the immigration rules though as a US citizen.

Thanks Totoro. I am an EU citizen so immigration would not be problematic. Costs probably would be, and I have no desire to work again. But I do love visiting the Netherlands!


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Old 11-18-2014, 08:28 AM   #9
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The Netherlands seems almost perfect during their (2-3 weeks?) of summer; but, I don't think I could be happy there year 'round (not enough sun, way too cold). Also, the general cost of living seems to be quite a lot higher than in the USA for us cheap types who still need food, housing, etc.

As others have mentioned, my lack of any Dutch was a [surprising to me] non-issue, even in the smaller towns. Most interactions I witnessed between Dutch shop keepers and Dutch patrons even occurred in English. (I actually find the Dutch accented English much easier to understand than many other places in the world.)
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #10
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Nice place. Only $96K per year (after tax). That's something everyone can afford.
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Old 11-19-2014, 08:54 AM   #11
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I do keep hoping this concept takes off somewhere in the USA before my mother or other family members need this kind of care. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any efforts to replicate this elsewhere or ever expand it in the Netherlands.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:20 PM   #12
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That Trumanshowesque Dutch village sounds creepy. Is this a government run place or a private institution?
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:05 PM   #13
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I think it only sounds creepy if you don't have dementia. If you do, then you don't notice and if it is run benevolently then I see no harm and much to be gained.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:40 PM   #14
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The idea of these kind of changes in elder care options were discussed in the book "Being Mortal" (which has it's own thread.)
Being Mortal (new book)

The book discusses one of the complaints/points of unhappiness with seniors moving to assisted living and/or nursing care is the lack of privacy... the inability to have a "home" that you can lock the door to. The lack of freedom to make decisions for yourself like whether to use a walker or a wheelchair. Most institutions are set up to reduce liability and to streamline assisted services to make it convenient for staff... (Shower everyone before Xam, because breakfast is served at X:15am... ) Residents lose their autonomy, and become unhappy... even when everything is luxurious.

I'm glad to see more changes made to address the human innate desire for independence - even when the resident is dependent, in some areas, for assistance.
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