There have been a number of dementia villages built around the world – and now Australia is joining in on the unique and innovative concept.
Australia’s very first suburban village designed specifically for people with dementia is set to be built in Tasmania.
Tasmania has the fastest growing ageing population in the nation, and dementia is now the second leading cause of death.
A first of its kind in the country, the “small town” will have 15 specially tailored houses which will provide accommodation for 90 people.
There will also be a supermarket, cinema, café, beauty salon and gardens for all the residents to use.
The most recognised village is De Hogeweyk village in the Netherlands, where it’s been reported that residents are living longer, eating better and take fewer medications.
There are hopes that this holistic approach in Australia will also have the same effect, and potentially be a more affordable option for those who can’t always afford costly 24-hour care.
The Korongee complex is estimated to cost approximate $25 million, and should it become successfully functional, other dementia villages could be built in other states.
Dementia villages are small towns that are built and designed to look and feel like a real town, while also offering the care and support needed for people with dementia.
It allows people to live independently, providing “normal” real life experiences in a safe and secure environment.
Residents are allowed to roam around and explore as much as they wish within its confines. They are even encouraged to help with cooking and other household tasks including shopping, in the village grocery store.
Some critics oppose the idea of creating this environment, arguing that residents are being misled.
However, supporters and researchers say that the “dementia village” concept is one of the most compassionate, type of dementia care offered anywhere.
To ensure safety in the new Tasmanian village, there are plans to have staff take part in discreet observation as well as advanced security technologies.
The shops and businesses in the village will all be real and the staff will be given specific training to accommodate for the residents.
One of the innovative features of creating a dementia village is that it can be tailored to any culture or setting.
This new Australian village, built in the suburb of Glenorchy in Hobart, has been designed to reflect the surrounding Tasmanian landscape.
The project was only announced last week, and is funded by aged care provider Glenview Community Services along with health sector superannuation fund Hesta and with the assistance of some government funding.
Construction is expected to begin next year and is due to be finished in mid-to-late 2019.
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