I’m always happy to hear about innovative homes for seniors, especially for those suffering from a form of dementia. Senior homes have come a long way in the past 20 years. My grandmother first had a small room in a lodge that fit a single bed and a very small side table, which was not a comfortable room for her aging body to move around in. Eventually, we moved her into a high-level care facility, but she had to share a room with another woman. It didn’t work out well because my grandmother was constantly climbing on top of her bed-bound roommate to adjust the curtains.
Twenty years later, my mom is in a great facility that encourages independence; however, as the Alzheimer’s progresses, she will need to move into a higher level of care facility. She often now resorts to behaviors and memories that were well before the time I was born. She enjoys things from childhood such as pictures of family and favorite pets, as well as hugging stuffed animals.
If only we had a facility in our area like the Georgian Bay Retirement Home in Ontario. The facility is designed with 1950s and 1960s decor. If she lived in a home like this, she could feel like she was living in the era she now remembers best.
In the Netherlands, Hogeweyk is a village concept that helps patients feel like they are part of a community. This is very important for people with Alzheimer’s to feel safe and part of a greater whole. I hope more of these places are created in the future.