Hogewey’s 152 residents ”“ never, warns Van Zuthem, “patients” ”“ have all been classified by the Dutch NHS as suffering from severe or extreme dementia. Averaging 83 years of age, they are cared for by 250-odd full- and part-time staff (most of them qualified healthcare workers, the rest given special training), plus local volunteers. They live, six or seven to a house, plus one or two carers, in 23 different homes. Residents have their own spacious bedroom, but share the kitchen, lounge and dining room.
Two core principles governed Hogewey’s award-winning design and inform the care that’s given here, says Van Zuthem. First, it aims to relieve the anxiety, confusion and often considerable anger that people with dementia can feel by providing an environment that is safe, familiar and human; an almost-normal home where people are surrounded by things they recognise and by other people with backgrounds, interests and values similar to their own. Second, “maximising the quality of people’s lives. Keeping everyone active. Focusing on everything they can still do, rather than everything they can’t. Because when you have dementia, you’re ill, but there may really not be much else wrong with you.”
So Hogewey has 25 clubs, from folksong to baking, literature to bingo, painting to cycling.