How bad would it be if there were a home for elderly individuals suffering mental diseases, living in a home that is based on a mock-1950s village in Switzerland? Critics are claiming Wiedlisbach will be termed “Dementiaville”– aka a village of crazies, but those in favor of the idea, point to a similar establishment that was set up in Holland – Hogewey – a few years ago where residents seemed relaxed and happy.
At the home, residents will be free to move about as they please, without leaving the premises. The carers won’t be dressed in white coats, but be made to look like regular workers such as hairdressers and gardeners. The theory behind it is that since those with dementia often exhibit aggressive behaviors, the trick is to find ways to minimize this and that seems to be what Hogewey has been successful at doing. The reason these models are based on 1950s style houses that look like standard houses with front gardens, is because this gives them a sense of security. While they may not remember what happened yesterday, they do recall their lives in the 1950s and this makes them feel safe. It is known as “traveling back in time.”
Really? That’s all it takes? Just take dementia patients “back in time” and then they can live normal lives and easily reintegrate into society? That seems a bit too simplistic. Indeed, Sonnweid (dementia) home director Michael Schmieder points out the problems with it that – as makes sense – people with dementia simply don’t have a sense of normality. Such a program is trying to fake this for them and he believes it won’t work. And he still wants his patients to be comfortable by offering five star treatment, BUT it’s in the here and now, not more than half a century ago.