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Groundbreaking Dutch Idea Changes the Lives of Seniors with Severe Dementia

A groundbreaking Dutch idea of caring for seniors with severe dementia is drawing more international attention, as illustrated just recently with a publication of the idea in The Economist. The idea is a fundamental change in the solution offered to care for seniors who have severe dementia. The care concept uses the premise that 'context matters.' It became a reality when a Dutch care center for elderly with dementia decided to facilitate their 152 residents with 23 unique room houses, each catering to the needs of a group of 6 to 8 with different lifestyles.

Severe Dementia

People with dementia have a range of symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion. By offering these people to live with like-minded peers in an environment that feels like home, fits their lifestyle, confirms their beliefs and matches their needs, it lowers their anxiety and makes them feel safe.

The fact that a resident cannot function “normally” in certain areas, being handicapped by dementia, does not mean that they no longer have a valid opinion on their day to day life and surroundings. The resident's opinion on life, housing, values, and standards determine their “lifestyle.”

Hogeweyk's dementia village is the first elderly care center that offers lifestyle specific homes to care for seniors with dementia. The seven lifestyles came about by leveraging the unique expertise Glocalities offers based on knowledge about shared values, lifestyle, and psychology.

Motivaction introduced lifestyle and values segmentation research in the Netherlands in the 1990-is. Values and lifestyle are essential to understanding the behavioral drivers and motivations of people, much more than traditional research which focusses on socio-demographics such as age, education, and gender. Therefore, Motivaction built their research surveys on the premise of generating profound insights into people's values and behaviors.

In 2013 Motivation decided to set up the permanent research global project Glocalities based on an extensive study of values and lifestyles across the globe. Glocalities' global database currently consists of representative data from 160,000 people in 27 countries. Based on this data, Glocalities offers research consultancy to international businesses and organizations, such as Unilever, the European Union, and Unicef.

Glocalities gained a lot of experience in the market of elderly care and housing when developing the lifestyle matching tool for the Award-winning Hogeweyk village in the Netherlands.

Hogeweyk houses the following lifestyles: urban, artisan, Indonesian, homey, Goois, cultural and Christian. The lifestyle is visible in the decor and layout of the house, the interaction in the group and with the members of staff, day to day activity and the way these activities are carried out. 

By offering a living environment that fits their lifestyle, seniors in Hogeweyk feel at home in their new situation, are less stressed, more independent and are more comfortable to activate and feel more comfortable to socialize.

In fact, as The Economist mentions, "in 1993, when it was still a regular nursing home, 50% of patients were being given antipsychotic drugs. In 2015, only 8% were. In a client satisfaction survey from 2010, the home scored 9.1 out of 10, compared with 7.5 coutrywide."

Anne Blanksma Çeta reflects on the success story of Hogeweyks and emphasizes: "if you're thinking about applying this lifestyle approach to your elderly care center for people with dementia, it's not a mere copy and paste of the Hogeweyk project."

Each country, each market has its uniqueness, and to respect that, you need to know the culture and the specific lifestyle choices, interests and values of your target audience.

To elaborate on this idea, let's assume you're developing a new project to improve care for elderly with dementia.

We would start this project with a tailored segmentation model of your specific target audience, based on lifestyle, values, interests and housing preferences.

Based on such a model we design a questionnaire for prospective residents or their family during the intake for the residence.

The survey will generate automatic feedback with a ranking of the lifestyle categories which best fit their preferences, values, and habits. Based on the analytical report which comes with the segmentation and questionnaire we provide an in-depth analysis of each of the lifestyle segments.

This information helps you to design the best possible living environment and services that resonate with the wishes of each of the resident groups.

If you are interested in learning more about our values- and lifestyle based survey or developing a unique proposition for your target audience, we're happy to schedule a free consultation call.


Martijn Lampert

Research Director

+31 20 589 83 70

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