Tasmania will become home to what is being touted as Australia’s first suburban village designed specifically for people with dementia. As well as 15 tailored houses, the village will have a supermarket, cinema, café, beauty salon and gardens.
The village will be based on the international best-practice models including the De Hogeweyk village in Amsterdam. Here, residents live in a self-contained world, as the village features restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, gardens, a pedestrian boulevard, hairdresser and even a post office. These buildings are surrounded by courtyard, rippling ponds, trickling fountains and seasonal landscaping as well as the perfect bench to enjoy on a sunny afternoon.
The Dutch village, completed in 2009, is home to 152 residents – never referred to as patients – living with severe dementia. It contains 23 residential units each shared by 6-8 people. Here dementia patients have been found to live longer and take fewer medications.
Now it is Australia’s turn to offer this world-class treatment, in a project that is a collaboration between aged care provider Glenview Community Services, health sector superannuation fund HESTA and the Commonwealth Government.
Glenview’s Lucy O’Flaherty said the village model aimed to provide real life experiences for those with the disease.
“For us, this is actually about providing a service for those people that can’t afford to get into a service that might be bells and whistles that would cost dollars,” she said. “This is actually about responding to the most disadvantaged in our community.”
Residents will still have access to the required care for dementia, but it will be in an environment that encourages patients to continue to interact and go about their lives.
The village is set to cater for 90 residents, and will be open to people of all ages, including those with early on-set dementia. It is hoped that the village will open in 18 months.