Sunday, August 26, 2018
The New York Times reported recently on some innovations in The Netherlands, in Take a Look at These Unusual Strategies for Fighting Dementia. It opens describing a virtual bus ride "simulation that plays out several times a day on three video screens" and moves into explaining that this virtual bus trip "is part of an unorthodox approach to dementia treatment that doctors and caregivers across the Netherlands have been pioneering: harnessing the power of relaxation, childhood memories, sensory aids, soothing music, family structure and other tools to heal, calm and nurture the residents, rather than relying on the old prescription of bed rest, medication and, in some cases, physical restraints." Another recreates a trip to the beach, both of which can spur conversations about previous trips.
The Netherlands has a preference for paying for care in the home rather than in facilities. I've previously blogged about one facility in The Netherlands (De Hogeweyk). In The Netherlands, "facilities, which are privately run but publicly funded, are generally reserved for people in an advanced state of the disease." One component of the Dutch approach is the physical surroundings designed to create a certain era or location. Another is creating small households of residents.
The article is accompanied by a number of great photos of involved residents. I plan to ask my students to discuss whether the Dutch model would work here in the U.S. What do you think?