Design

Dementia Villages: The Delicate Art of Designing to Deceive


You take a stroll down a sunny street, wave to the smiling vendor at the flower stall on the corner, chat with a friend by the fountain at the centre of the town square and head back to your picturesque cottage with a baguette tucked under your arm. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that all the streets hit a dead end. You don’t know that the clerks in all the stores are actually nurses. As far as you’re concerned, it’s 1959, the year you graduated from college, and your high school sweetheart could be coming by at any moment. You’re content in that thought — even though it’s actually 2018, and your village is really a care facility. You’re allowed to live in the mental and physical space that makes you the most comfortable.

To some, this kind of trickery might seem cruel, recalling the plots of movies like The Truman Show (in which the protagonist, unbeknownst to him, lives in an artificially constructed environment and life). But advocates of these dementia villages say they grant patients a lifestyle that has a lot more in common with their pasts in the real world than a potentially cold and unfriendly nursing home ward — via Web Urbanist

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