Monday, April 28, 2014

Dementailvillage

Dementiavillage (De Hogeweyk) is a facility in Holland that takes care of Alzheimer's and dementia patients by creating a simulated village in which the patients can go through their daily lives and believe that they are on their own, functioning in their own reality. Dementiavillage is a secured, gated community which ensures the patient's safety as well as facilitates the urge to wander around that many people who have dementia get. It is a "self-contained world" with "Restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, gardens, a pedestrian boulevard, and more" (Campbell-Dollaghan).

It's designed to resemble real life for the patients as much as possible, right down to apartment decor and silverware. Patients often struggle with unfamiliar places so instead of the industrial cleanliness of nursing homes, Dementaivillage opts for a more familiar, homey feeling.

This care center works because it simulates the real and therefore becomes the real for the patients living there. This is a very Baudrillardian idea because Dementiavillage does it's best to imitate the outside world in which you and I currently live in and the patients remember living in. The idea is to "design a world that maintains as much resemblance to normal life as possible" (Campbell-Dollaghan). It seems like a rather successful facility too, making it a third order simulation in which the facility is actually better for the residents than the outside "real" world was. Before, the residents were either in a nursing home or being taken care of by a family member, likely to feel like wandering and escape their confines as well as susceptible to being forgotten and not having as much attention and care. In Dementiavillage, these people are sort of pleasantly fooled into thinking they are functioning in the world as they always have. And, they are never far from a care-provider who is there to assist them with anything and make sure they stay on track with their meds when they forget. It's a pretty cool idea and it looks like other European countries and even the United States are thinking about implementing similar facilities.

2 comments:

  1. Is there a difference between Dementiavillage and a regular village, like Plymouth? In what ways are regular real-world villages also copies or constructs? Do you think people without dementia would like to live in a village like this? Why/why not? I wonder how a place like Celebration USA in FL might compare...

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  2. From what I understand of it, Dementiavillage functions as an exactly simulation of a regular village, like Plymouth. There are shops, outdoor walkways, apartment complexes, etc. The differences I can tell are that there are no vehicles in Dementiavillage for cars probably due to the tendency dementia patients have to wander and forget things like common road rules while walking.

    I suppose pretty much all real-world villages are copies or constructs of other villages and towns and whatnot because we tend to compare ourselves to others and try to pick the good qualities to emulate and also see the bad parts to try to avoid. For instance, how a specific village might be set up could have a similar structure as another because it allows for maximum occupancy. The are I live in at home in Vermont is very heavily structured; I live in a cookie-cutter neighborhood that has three or four surrounding neighborhoods that are set up with the same basic structure and housing layouts. We are all copies of each other and are probably modeled after other neighborhoods in other areas of the country that the contractor who built ours created.

    People from the outside world are actually encouraged to go into Dementiavillage and explore it. Many of the people who work at the stores, restaurants, etc. are also outside people from the surrounding area. I think they could enjoy living in this environment because it's so similar to the outside world but a lot safer and everything is much more conveniently located. However, the downfall of it is very similar to Truman's reaction in "The Truman Show" with the need to escape and live outside such a strict, structured bubble of perfection.

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