European co-operation opens up a world of possibility for dementia care

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Care UK’s head of dementia care, Maizie Mears-Owen, was amongst a delegation of visitors to a unique care community in Holland for a meeting to increase shared learning amongst specialists in dementia care.

The group of experts from across Europe met at the Dutch dementia community of De Hogeweyk in May to look around the community, which was designed to maintain and enhance the independence and wellbeing of its 152 residents.

In the community, residents live in 27 purpose-built villas designed to be home to like-minded individuals who prefer rustic, urban or traditional lifestyles. Residents can also choose their homes based on religious beliefs or cultural interests and backgrounds.

Maizie said: “It is a fascinating idea. Anything that makes people feel at home and keeps them stimulated must be beneficial. I was struck by the fact that we didn’t see many residents at home because they were all out and about meeting friends or taking part in activities.”

“At Care UK, we use Activity Based Care to help people maintain and develop their interests – which in turn helps them to maintain their life-skills and independence. The Dutch village has taken this one stage further which was very interesting to see.”

Future meetings to continue sharing ideas and developments are planned amongst the European dementia specialists who attended.

Maizie added: “I think the most positive thing of all was the sense of camaraderie and shared experience found among the international providers on the visit. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia make the world a smaller place as it affects every country, community and creed.

“As a result of the links forged, the group of providers I was part of plan to explore other examples of enhancing life for people with dementia. These strong communication links between experts from different countries and providers offer a great opportunity to share ideas, best practice and research.”

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