They all have one thing in common: Severe dementia.
Residents live in one of 23 houses with about six others, according
The Hogeway approach and philosophy to dementia care is so successful that it has generated interest in other countries including Canada. A Hogeway style village is located in Penetanguishene, Ontario. Families and residents are very happy with the facility.
I disagree with the position of the illustrious bioethicist and his Council. Hogeway is for people with severe dementia. If they are happy living in a pretend world, let them. Is the Hogeway philosophy and approach to care condescending or patronizing? I don’t care. We are talking about irreversible progressive dementia. The patient’s happiness, safety and quality of life are the important issues. Let them live in a fantasy! Is Hughes against it because he didn’t think of it? Someone please give bioethicists something constructive to do with their time.
Goodness! We should welcome innovative ideas in nursing home care. The Hogeway philosophy is a breath of fresh air and a far cry to how so many of people with severe dementia are institutionalized in sterile nursing homes. These settings may be safe but they are unfamiliar to the patient. (I know of cases where dementia patients were essentially warehoused until they died.)
We need innovative ways to care for this population. I think the Hogeway approach is worth considering. It’s not for everyone but it
allows some people with severe dementia to live in healthy, happy, safe and stimulating environments that resemble normal community life. And that taps into the Common Good about which I have previously written and spoken about across Canada and the United States.
The common good involves EVERYONE and that includes the physically, developing disabled, the aged, and those yet to be born. Communities that exclude anyone are not really communities at all because the common good is not being served. The dignity of people with severe dementia involves protection from the harshness and cruelties of the world. Not only does it involve protection but it also involves creating environments for people to thrive as individuals and groups. Reaching fulfillment means different things at different times, stages and states in people’s lives.
Fulfilment for a person suffering from severe dementia may simply mean being happy and as free as possible from anxiety. If we can put in place environments to help achieve that goal, let’s do it. If reality is beyond reach or too fearful, let them live in a fantasy.
When even memories fade, all that matters is to be loved.