First dementia village to be built in Tasmania
Australia’s first dementia village will be built in Tasmania, in the suburb of Korongee, Glenorchy. The designers wanted to recreate real life experiences for dementia sufferers. Initially, only the plans for the village have been unveiled. Furthermore, they are based on the Dutch Hogeweyk Dementia Village concept. The concept is that residents will feel at home in this village. They will be able to wander about, freely and safely. Thereby replicating as normal a life as possible.
This concept has proved very successful in helping integrate dementia sufferers with regular society.
The project has an estimated cost of $25 million. It is undertaken in partnership between Glenview Community Services, HESTA and Social Ventures Australia. Assistance has been provided by the Commonwealth Government. The choice of Tasmania is related to it’s having the fastest ageing population nationally. Furthermore, dementia is the country’s second leading cause of death.
Glenview Chairman, Ian Weir says the facility was designed with the idea of reproducing a “typical Tasmanian cul-de-sac streetscape”. It will be a first for Australia. Furthermore, it’s presented as a cutting-edge model of care. Comprising 15 demographically tailored homes and representing a small town context. Additionally, it will feature streets, a supermarket, cinema, café, beauty salon and gardens.
It is drawn on a range of international best practice models. In particular the dementia village of De Hogeweyk in the Netherlands. Reports are that the residents in that village present with a better quality of life. Such as longevity, eating better and taking fewer medications. It is hoped residents at the Tasmanian village will display similar benefits.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2018. It is hoped the site will be completed in mid to late 2019.
Currently, the concept of a normal lifestyle is not available for dementia patients in care facilities. Simple, everyday activities such as going to buy a coffee, or to the supermarket for groceries are not viable for most of them.
Korongee will consist of 15 houses. Each one consisting of six bedrooms. Furthermore, the staff will be health professionals. However they will not wear uniforms. Instead, they will provide a homelike environment and present as home makers.
Glenview CEO, Lucy O’Flaherty, says each house is designed with a purpose. To eliminate the things dementia sufferers routinely struggle with. Such as loss of familiarity due to different environments. Hopefully, by recreating the residents’ familiar environment they will have a more normal life.
Benefits for the wider community
Economic benefits for the community will begin with the creation of new jobs. Also, the community will be encouraged to visit the village. They will be welcome to enjoy the gardens and stop by the café for a coffee. They will also be free to purchase at the supermarket, make use of the beauty salon and attend the cinema.