France builds an Alzheimer’s Village for Patients to Live Comfortably

France builds an Alzheimer’s Village for Patients to Live Comfortably

by Yash Saboo June 27 2018, 1:16 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 42 secs

I read in an article on CNN that there is no test that doctors can use to conclusively determine whether someone will get Alzheimer's disease. "If you are in your 20s or 30s and want to know if you will get the disease, we don't have information to determine that now," said Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer's Association.

One thing everyone agrees on: There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Alzheimer's disease. "We don't know the exact cause of Alzheimer's, we have hints and some pieces of information," Snyder said. One thing that is known, if you have a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with the disease, you are at an increased risk. "But that is by no means definitive that you will get the disease”, she said.

Source : The Spaces

Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or related dementia. While preventing this disease is not entirely possible, in southwestern France, a revolutionary project is underway to build a facility that allows Alzheimer's patients to live comfortably. The Village Landais Alzheimer in Dax will be a space where those with Alzheimer's will live freely, without medication, in an enclosed enclave designed to mirror the freedom they enjoyed while maintaining safety.

A similar site in the Netherlands inspired this project. This spurred then-local MP Henri Emmanuelli to take up the cause. The facility, known as “Alzheimer's Village”, does not only has different housing areas with residences built to suit different tastes, but also has a supermarket, hairdresser, library and gym among other facilities.

The idea is that an increase in freedom will also increase happiness, and bring down the need for medication. Residents will not be able to leave the site and will be cared for by plain-clothed medical staff.

Neurologist Jean-François Dartigues says that by maintaining a typical lifestyle, patients will continue their normal social routines and exercise their brains. “They will find a form of integrity, social and human. They will do their shopping, go to the hairdresser, the bistro, the restaurant, the theatre”, he shares. “They will have fun. What constitutes a form of extraordinary therapy.”

The designers Champagnat & Grègoire Architects and NORD Architects designed a village that adheres to the traditional architecture of the region. This was done to ease up the tradition. Built to resemble a medieval fortress town typical of the Landes area, houses are grouped in blocks of four around a courtyard, with each area having a distinct identity. Walkways draped with nature connect the areas, with the paths providing sensory stimulation and a way for the patients to interact with nature.

In addition to medical staff, researchers and volunteers who organize activities will become a part of village life. The 12-acre Alzheimer's Village is currently under construction and will cost a hefty $28 million, reports Newsweek. Curbed quotes the even higher figure of $34 million, “primarily funded by the government”. Expected to open at the end of 2019, the village will “house 120 patients, 100 live-in caretakers, 12 volunteers, and a team of researchers who will approach the treatment center as a testbed for alternative Alzheimer’s care.”

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