Tasmania will soon be home to what is known as a dementia village; a specially designed village exclusively for people living with dementia.
The $25 million project will be built upon an old derelict site located at Glenorchy in Hobart’s North. The village is estimated to house approximately 90 residents, who alongside housing, will also be able to enjoy features such as a beauty salon, a cinema, cafe’s and supermarkets.
What is a dementia village?
The concept of having a specialised village exclusively for those with dementia is not a new idea; many dementia villages exist around the world, with the Netherlands being home to the first one ever created.
However, the village due to be built in Tasmania is the first of its kind to make its way over to Australia.
It will also have a much more open approach to the system. Dementia villages are usually reserved for those with very severe dementia, with people with only moderate dementia forced to seek out other resources, such as dementia day centres.
CEO of Glenview Community Services, Lucy O’Flaherty, says that the village will be open to applications from people with all levels of dementia, of any age.
Ms O’Flaherty also explained that the village will be open to the community, but there will be public and private spaces to help ensure the privacy of residents.
Operating a dementia village
While residents are encouraged to maintain an independent lifestyle, staff will be on hand throughout the village to help provide any necessary help and care.
“They’ll have staff that will [take part in] discreet observation, there will be technology, the design of the facility will be as such that it will support residents within the village, Ms O’Flaherty said.
Business will apparently also play a vital role in the dementia village, as the local community will be able to have a say in what various businesses they wish to have.
These businesses will also provide new jobs, yet anyone wishing to apply will receive support and training to successfully work with people with dementia.
“We will be supporting all the staff, whether they are the staff of these organisations, to get trained so they’re really clear about dementia, how to care for people living with dementia to create the most normal and real environment,” Ms O’Flaherty said.
A helping hand for Tasmania
Tasmania is home to Australia’s oldest and fastest ageing population, which played a deciding factor in the decision to have the dementia village built there.
“If we don’t do something now, we are going to be in strife. We need to be proactive, we need to be innovative,” Ms O’Flaherty said.
Professor James Vickers from the Wicking Dementia Centre said the project was “revolutionary” and would “transform dementia care.”
“You need to look at a model where people become destressed and the best way of doing that is in a home-like environment,” he said.
The dementia village is set to be complete and ready to house residents in approximately 18 months.