Malmö commuter town plans Sweden's first 'dementia village'

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Malmö commuter town plans Sweden's first 'dementia village'
The Månstorp elderly care home currently caters to all elderly people, whether or not they have dementia. Photo: Pontus Lindahl/TT

A municipality in southern Sweden wants to set up the country's first 'dementia village', following a successful model pioneered in The Netherlands and Denmark.


The town of Vellinge, near Malmö, is expected on Tuesday to tender out a contract to a private company to convert its elderly care home, Månstorp, into a so-called dementia village, which will give residents more freedom than a typical care home within a safe environment.
"It will make daily life for people with dementia a little easier," Mavis Zander, the politician responsible for elderly care in the town, told The Local. "They will be able to move around a little bit more freely than they do today, both inside and outside." 
The award-winning dementia village of De Hogeweyk in The Netherlands has been likened to the film The Truman Show – in which the main character is unaware he is living on a reality TV set – since it was launched in 2009.
The idea is to make residents feel as much as possible as if they are living a normal life in a normal village. Many residents in De Hogeweyk are unaware that they do not live in a normal village and the staff in the supermarket and restaurant on site are specially trained. 

This allows them to avoid experiences that could be dangerous or upsetting to dementia patients, such as becoming disorientated or getting lost, and they can have increased autonomy and a wide social network.
The Brygghuset-Svendborg Dementia village opened near the Danish city of Odense in 2016 with a similar approach to its 125 residents. 
The Vellinge home will also offer residents facilities to make life more similar to living in a normal village, although Månstorp will continue to house other elderly residents without dementia.
"There will maybe be a little shop where they can buy chocolate, a café where they can fika, and a second-hand clothes shop," Zander said. "They will be able to live a life a little bit similar to life in a normal home." 
There are also plans for a beauty salon, a pool, and a hen house. 
The municipality's goal is for the care home to have relaunched as a dementia village by January next year.
Patrik Lindén, who currently manages the care home, said he expected to find out on Tuesday if his employer, Förenade Care, has won the contract. 


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