This case study describes De Hogeweyk, a community that has been dubbed a dementia village in Weesp, the Netherlands. Established in 2008, the village provides high quality elder care services for individuals diagnosed with advanced or severe dementia. Sofia Widén, program manager of ACCESS Health Sweden, visited De Hogeweyk in 2016. She spoke with its founder, former facility manager, and senior managing consultant, Eloy van Hal. The following interview describes life in the dementia village and its care philosophy.
De Hogeweyk is the only dementia care facility of its kind in the Netherlands. Dutch insurance providers offer reimbursement so that the cost of living at De Hogeweyk equals the cost of other dementia care homes. The village in Weesp houses one hundred fifty two residents in twenty three small houses. De Hogeweyk strives to create a typical community atmosphere. A hairdresser, a supermarket, a café, a restaurant, a bar, and a theater are all connected by a series of streets and parks. The care philosophy at De Hogeweyk focuses on normalcy and autonomy. Professional caregivers and practitioners support the residents in every house. They also encourage residents to be as active as possible. Residents enjoy social contact and participate in normal household activities.
Widén’s interview with van Hal demonstrates the viability of sustainable care homes that allow the residents to have the support they need as well as the autonomy and sense of community they deserve.