Vancouver Island to see first publicly-funded ‘dementia village’ in Comox Valley

The tiny Dutch village of De Hogeweyk is inhabited entirely by elderly people suffering from dementia. Now, a similar village will be built on Vancouver Island. Global News

A new dementia village in the Comox Valley will be the first publicly funded dementia village on Vancouver Island and the second in B.C. Last year, a similar village was announced on Heather Street in Vancouver.

It’s called a “dementia village” because it’s meant to feel like a shared community home, rather than a nursing home.

Providence Health Care corporate director for seniors care Jo-Ann Tait said it’s a vastly different experience for residents.

“It’s helping people to be autonomous, to have independence, to have the freedom and choice that they need,” said Tait.

“And really our place is that if you or I were faced with needing to live in long-term care, this is where you and I would want to live.”

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RELATED:  (Aired November 2015) The founder of the Dementia Village in the Netherlands shares the success of this new type of nursing home.

The Comox and Heather Street villages are based on the De Hogeweyk model in Weesp, Netherlands. De Hogeweyk operates a town square, supermarket, restaurant-pub and theatre among other amenities. It’s built with seven housing types based on the likes and dislikes of its residents.

Residents in the Comox model will be put in smaller households with people they’ve bonded with, and they’re allowed to independently explore the facilities and grounds.

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A release from Providence Health Care says the village will be built on a 17-acre site overlooking the ocean at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

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Tait called the model “transformative” when compared with efficiency based hospital models.

“People can relax, people have access to the outdoors. Where the community actually has a grocery store, a cafe, some space to have an open mic night, where the community can really enjoy being part of the dementia village is really the innovation that we’re looking for.”‘

Tait said she expects the model to become more popular across British Columbia.

Providence Health Care predicts the number of Canadians with dementia to double over the next 15 years.

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