The Dutch dementia village Hogeweyk to Hawick was researched by the Borders

Work by Hogeweyk

Hogeweyk and Hawick might almost sound the same if you pronounce them quickly enough.

Though they might share more than just a similar pronunciation in a few years.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has plans for two developments in Hawick and Tweedbank in response to visits to the "dementia village" in the Netherlands.

The idea had taken many years to develop, according to Jannette Spiering, one of the site's founders.

She began developing a vision for normalizing care for those with severe dementia in 1993 while working for the Vivium care group, where she has spent the last 40 years.

Six years after its 2002 commission, Hogeweyk became operational.

The whole thing is that we weren't happy with the care models that were already in place because they really worked from the perspective of medical care, she said.

"We reasoned that by concentrating on both social and medical care, we could achieve better results. ".

In terms of how care and housing were provided, she called it a "real cultural shift.".

Jannette Spiering
The Hogeweyk village in the Netherlands was founded by Jannette Spiering.

She stated that "it's about a care model and it's about the built environment.".

"We can accommodate 188 people because we have 27 houses and seven people living in each one. ".

She stated that all of the hundreds of visiting parties to the site had their perspectives on care "radically changed.".

The built environment, she explained, "does not resemble any institutional nursing homes that we are familiar with.".

"The Hogeweyk is about small-scale living, which entails a group of people – seven in a house – residing together with caregivers.

"They manage their home—or rather, care staff manage the home, with residents taking an active role. ".

Residents are free to travel whenever and wherever they please, according to Ms. Spiering.

She explained that the goal was to transform "large wards, often with 30 people," into "normal environments.".

One of the biggest changes, she said, is living with seven other people.

Her statement that "having the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want, without assistance or being watched by a carer" was another distinction.

Ms. Spiering continued, "The Hogeweyk is a big, big neighborhood but it's still a safe environment because there is an entrance which is watched.

"In that neighborhood, people are free to go wherever they want, and we want to integrate society as much as we can with our neighborhood. ".

There are 27 houses total in the Hogeweyk, each with space for seven people.

They invite visitors from nearby areas to the Hogeweyk in order to achieve this.

Since dementia is so heavily stigmatized, she said, "we try to remove the stigma.".

"In the past, we concealed people and pretended that they could no longer be a part of society.

"But I believe it's the other way around — society doesn't know how to interact with those who have dementia because, at times, people may request a different strategy, and in those cases, you must have some understanding of what dementia entails. ".

She claimed that the only requirement was to treat people as normally as possible.

Reducing the stigma associated with dementia is a key component of the Dutch concept.

The Hogeweyk is just another neighborhood if you enter it, she claimed.

You won't even be able to tell which people are volunteers, residents, or family members.

"Normalizing the environment significantly contributes to reducing stigma. ".

She claimed that it had a favorable impact on the residents as well, whose average age was around 84.

People will begin to act like they are in a hospital if you imprison them in a setting that resembles one, she explained.

"They experience anxiety and a constant sense of wanting to leave because they do not recognize the environment. ".

According to her, offering a "normal environment and a normal house" as well as a social life could make a significant difference.

"That contributes to living a good, meaningful life," she said. "Normalization is the key, I believe. ".


Ms. Spiering expressed her "extreme curiosity" about the progress of SBC's multi-million pound plans.

It recently approved plans for the Stirches neighborhood of Hawick, which could house 60 people, and cost £11 point 2 million.

Two more traditional care homes would be replaced in Tweedbank by a similar development.

The local government emphasized that Hogeweyk was just one example that had influenced its plans.

In order to support its design plans, it has also collaborated with the Dementia Services Development Centre at Stirling University.


Importantly, it said in a statement, "we must make sure we are meeting the needs of the people of the Borders.

The care villages will house a variety of clients with varying and very distinct needs, so it is important that the designs allow for flexibility in use both now and in the future. ".

As the plans develop, it has promised to hold more community consultations and engagement sessions.

All of this is being closely followed in the Netherlands.

I sincerely hope they can come up with something that fits the Scottish culture, said Ms. Spiering.

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