Inspired by a similar town in the Netherlands, France opens up their first experimental “Alzheimer’s Village.”
The small village, like most in France, has a cafe-restaurant, a hairdresser, a superette and a library.
Neighbours have a cup of coffee and a chat on the terrace, or meet up in the park or at the gym before heading their separate ways home.
But these are no ordinary villagers. Their average age is 79 and they all share a debilitating disease: Alzheimer’s.
For each resident, medical care-givers and volunteers—240 people in total— are on hand to provide assistance with the daily tasks that for some have become impossible to manage on their own.
But this is no care home. Staff do not wear white coats and residents are given the freedom to pursue their individual lifestyles, in as far as that is possible.
Alzheimer’s is a disease of the spirit as much as of the body. The loss of both memory, freedom and in some cases even identity can be a crushing emotional blow. The purpose of the Alzheimer’s Villages is to soften the blow of the diminishing memory, and give them back a little bit of freedom, all while still keeping them safe and monitored. As the population ages, and instances of Alzheimer’s explode, expect to see more and more of these villages around the world.
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