Assessing an imperfect Model: Europe’s Dementia Villages after De Hogeweyk, 2008-2022

Conference: The European Conference on Aging & Gerontology (EGen2022)
Title: Assessing an imperfect Model: Europe’s Dementia Villages after De Hogeweyk, 2008-2022
Stream: Built Environment
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Alberto Geuna, Politecnico di Milano, Italy


When the assisted living facility De Hogeweyk opened in 2008, in the Amsterdam suburb of Weesp, it attracted a lot of attention from the media. The explicit use of the architectural language as a form of reminiscence therapy and the replication community life in a controlled setting lead American neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta to define it as a “dementia village” in an article he wrote for CNN in 2013. The term stuck and, as more assisted living facilities inspired by the Hogeweyk spread, it is coming to define a model for dementia care that is becoming progressively more common throughout Europe, North America, and Oceania. Dementia villages take the shape of gated communities, most often located in the outskirts of cities. Architecturally, dementia villages consist of low-rise buildings organized around open spaces. These define neighborhoods, each composed of a series of houses containing 6 to 8 individual rooms, while specific village sections include restaurants, barbershops, and other amenities situated in open spaces that mimic urban environments. My ongoing doctoral research argues that this specific aspect qualifies dementia villages as an emerging collective living type.
The proposed contribution will consist of a critical review and comparison of the Hogeweyk-influenced facilities that are emerging across Europe, critically evaluated based on recent literature from sociology, architecture, and nursing sciences, with the aim of assessing their potential in reshaping the contemporary discourse regarding assisted living facilities.

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