Implementing dementia villages in the North of Ireland

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Kerri connolly is asking This will be sent to Robin swann
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Implementing dementia villages in the North of Ireland

My name is kerri Connolly and I am 20 years old, I am writing to Robin swann to put forward ideas in implementing dementia villages in the north of Ireland. I know you are going to be thinking we have care and nursing homes for dementia and this is true, although it is not a very nice way to end your life in one of these often feeling alone and isolated.
In hodgeway in the Netherlands there is a dementia village which was opened in 2009 after 14 years planning!! This is a gated community where dementia patients and healthcare professionals live. It is has things like a cinema, restaurants, shops, launderettes etc. basically like any other village it has apartments looking onto the pond’s courtyards, flowers and fountains. Which when pictured in your mind is just beautiful. Health care professionals dress in their street clothes and blend in with the patients and cook and clean and look after everyone.
Hodgeway it a secure environment where patients can freely explore about without being able to go too far and get lost. If they then do get lost, they can ask the villager (healthcare professionals) for help.
As a young person who is slowly becoming more knowledgeable on ensuring peoples quality of life is kept at the highest of standards to promote person centered care, and independence I am becoming more aware of just how difficult it is to keep a patient’s independence as best as we can. I have two years’ experience working with dementia patients in care homes and due to the high numbers of patients needing so much attention and so little staff the patients who are content are quite often left to do their own thing. Realistically someone with dementia is needing something to keep their brain awake as such
In 2012 the prime minister announced we would have a dementia challenge to create a dementia friendly community that can help. Now think about it would you be comfortable to help someone with dementia who is lost and confused? This would be why it would be such a good idea for a dementia village. Patients can go and do what they want and if they do need help, they can get help from trained professionals (villagers).
An example is in one of the care homes I worked in we had a resident who had went for hip surgery. When they were in hospital, they were using walking aids with two carers or nurses to walk around but as soon as they came out of hospital into the care home again, they were sat in their room (where they wanted to be) and only every walked to the bathroom or to the bed. Because of the high demand of other residents on carers.
Care homes yes are a good idea in an ideal world where we have patient to staff ratio but patients take two carers or take more time etc. so it doesn’t work really. We have residents looking to go outside but can’t go outside due to them possibly walking away. We have residents looking to go to the shop and when we say no they lash out verbally and physically. I think if we built a dementia village it would give people a very nice end of life experience where they had the freedom and independence as much as possible to do what they want when they want. They could go a walk to the shop or sit at the fountain in the courtyard.

My own granda has dementia with Lewy bodies. There are days where he wants to go to the post office and get his money or the credit union, because my granny isn’t well enough to walk him there herself she has to call one of her children to take him which means she has to try to distract him whilst waiting on them. This can make him confused and agitated etc. if he were to be living in a dementia village, he would be able to go and do what he wants when he wants without my granny having to worry about him getting lost or knocked down by a car etc.
I am putting forward this idea for the same reason hodgeway started. I fear putting my grandparents into a nursing home due to lack of resources and rehabilitation there. Due to residents being able to be active in a community where they can attend clubs’, bars and restaurants it keeps their brain ‘awake' as such and people here are seen to be taking less medication, eat better, and live longer healthier lives. Being able to walk around and do these think not only keeps the mind awake but keeps the muscles awake.

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This campaign is being run by Kerri connolly.
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