Dementia is no respecter of status or profession. It's immediate effect is the loss of independence and livelihood which in turn increases the feeling of isolation and desperation, having a major impact upon everyone concerned.
In a Strawberry village we are adopting a new approach. We are not the originators of this approach but we have worked with the originators to bring this concept into the UK. See the drop down tab ‘Pioneers’ to meet Janette, Yvonne and Eloy.
We centre our care around 3 main themes.
To stimulate cognitive ability which is improved by promoting the use of familiar and recognisable surroundings and activities that respond to people's deepest and earliest memories.
This is important in that it responds to the 'journey back in time' effect that residents will have experienced as the dementia develops.
To address social mobility through the design of artefacts and amenities that create opportunities for people to interact more easily within activities of daily living.
Residents will be allowed and encouraged to engage in everything they would have done and some things they might not have tried before the onset of dementia, although in a safe environment. They will be supported and encouraged by their friends and neighbours (staff) to keep an active and social lifestyle as much as they are able.
To promote physical ability through designs that unobtrusively compensate for disabilities, such as reduced mobility and impaired vision, which are prevalent among people affected by dementia.
Residents will have the freedom to roam and explore all day and everyday around the sights and sounds of the village, to feel the sun on their face, the changing seasons and the fresh air from dawn to dusk, rain or shine, winter or summer, all in a safe and secure environment.
How do we do this?
Our community will consist of generally 120 residents (housemates) and we will endeavour to create as normal a life as possible, something that maybe they will recognise and respond too. There will be a village hall where events will be organised for the housemates, family, friends and visitors, a pub and restaurant as well as a shop and hobby rooms where we will run clubs and activities to suit the interests and need of our housemates. The gardens, streets and squares will be familiar and landscaped with sensory plants and materials and will help stimulate the senses with colour, movement and scent.
These will all be fully supported by our experienced fulltime, part time and volunteer crew (staff)
Small Group Living
All our residents will live in 6 bedroom apartments where they will have their own en suite bedroom, along with a kitchen, dining area, living room and service facilities which they will share with the other housemates .
They will live alongside people who share their values and will socialise in the village with those who share their interests.
Dementia is often referred to as a journey back in time and we will reflect this in everything we do. The small group living will create environments which will be familiar and homely to the resident and will help them settle in to life in their new home. Determining the values and lifestyle of the resident will be an essential part of the assessment and application process.
People quite often live alongside people who share the same values, and hence lifestyle, (think of where you live and who you live next to). Each of our apartments will represent one of 6 or 7 different lifestyles and it will be our task (you and us) to find out which one best suits the resident.
All our housemates will be encouraged to engage in the activities that are familiar to them, whether it be the everyday house-keeping or other activities that give them a purpose. This could involve shopping for food or doing some washing or gardening, all under the guidance of our fully trained staff. There will also be a number of activities in the form of clubs or societies that the housemate will be encouraged to join. This will require them to leave their apartment and go to a hobby room or meeting room to meet and mix with others who will share their interest.
The housemate will be fully supported and encouraged to do whatever they can or want to do within the safe confines of the village. This way, we believe we can give them back a large part of their life. We want them to live as normally as possible, despite their dementia.
Freedom to Roam
Our apartments are arranged around a series of streets, squares and gardens, with a single point of external entry which is manned 24/7. Each apartment opens onto the streets and squares and the resident has freedom to roam and explore the external spaces and the changing seasons, safe in the knowledge that they are supported and secure with onsite staff never far from giving a helping hand or a hot cup of tea.