One of the most productive things you can do to help keep a person with dementia from feeling lost, frightened, or agitated is to help them live as familiar a life as possible.
To that end, at Hogewey, residents live in one of seven different "lifestyle" categories: religious, cultural, urban, homemaker, trade/craft, upper class, and Indonesian. The moods evoked by the furnishing, decoration, and art in each home create an experience reminiscent of each individual's formative years.
Residents are also scheduled for regular appointments with the village hairdresser, Ingrid Scheermeijer. She told me when the residents simply get their hair combed, it has a calming effect. They feel as if they're being cared for and pampered.
"Sometimes I have customers that come in very unhappy," she told me. "They look in the mirror, and they feel good. I think it's very important."
5. Hand holding is good for the heart and head
I spent the majority of my time at Hogewey with two couples, Ada and Ben Picavet, as well as Corrie and Theo Visser. Throughout my interviews with each pair, they sat holding hands.
"It's not possible to talk about everything (anymore)," Ada told me, "but we still have this possibility."
"It's the way we communicate," Theo said. "She squeezes whenever she sees something or feels something. We spend the whole day like this."
Theo told me his marriage is the best it's been in nearly 60 years.