LIFE

Australia's First Ever 'Dementia Village' Will Be Built In Tasmania

The complex will mirror a real community and is modelled on a project from The Netherlands.

20/07/2017 1:04 AM AEST | Updated 20/07/2017 12:21 PM AEST

A $25 million village for people with dementia will be built in Tasmania, aimed at providing a real life experience for those with the disease.

The village, Korongee, will be based on a similar one in The Netherlands, the De Hogeweyk village, which mimics a small town setting and creates conditions so that residents are challenged by recognisable incentives to remain active in daily life.

Korongee will have a cul de sac design that relects a real life Tasmanian street.

De Hogeweyk
De Hogeweyk village in the Netherlands for people with dementia.

Residents at De Hogeweyk have been found to require less medication than other dementia sufferers and are also found to live longer. Korongee will be built at Glenorchy in Hobart's north which is currently a derelict area. It will feature homes, gardens, a supermarket, café, cinema and a beauty salon.

Dementia sufferers regularly struggle with unfamiliar colours, spaces and even décor; each home will be designed to create familiar cultural aspects of Tasmanian life.

Residents will be able to wake up when it suits them and carry on with their chosen activities in a way that reflects the life they have always known. For example, if a person was once a tradesman who always started his day early, then life in the village will mirror that lifestyle.

Glenview
Korongee will have a cul de sac design that resembles a real life Tasmanian street.

According to the Tasmanian Times, there'll be no set age limit for the community, as people with early onset dementia can be included. The village will cater to around 90 people and friends and relatives will be able to visit and interact with their loved one in a more realistic environment than a nursing home.

Glenview Chairman Iain Weir said the shops in the village will be real shops and the design of the village will offer a superior and proven model of care.

Glenview
An artists picture of the proposed dementia village Korongee.

"Korongee's design will make it possible for residents living with dementia to walk around the village and participate in everyday life decisions which are presently not available to those in dementia care," Weir said.

"Activities such as going to the café to buy a coffee or simply heading to the supermarket to buy groceries for dinner. In addition to the cultural services hub, Korongee will consist of 15 houses, each with six bedrooms which will be staffed by health professionals who dress casually and will act as 'home makers' to provide an authentic home like environment."

Glenview
An artists' impression of the Korongee village in Tasmania for people living with dementia.

Staff at the village will take part in village life in a discreet and realistic way that helps them support the residents, while at the same time creating a 'normal' real life environment.

While the government will be providing some funding, $19 million will be funded by a collaboration between aged care provider Glenview Community Services and health sector superannuation fund HESTA.

Tasmania is home to Australia's oldest and fastest ageing population and dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia. Dementia is a disorder that affects the brain and impacts on thinking, overall behaviour and the ability to carry out tasks that a person could usually carry out without any issues.

Most with dementia are over 60 but some people have dementia in their 40s and 50s. There are several types of dementia but the most common are Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Vascular dementia.

Korongee is expected to be completed in the next 18 months.

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