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By: ULRIK SASS
Inspired by Holland included new dementia city precinct – OK Foundation builds and operates the “City of Life.” The ground has yet been found.
Odense: “City for Life” is the name of a whole new city precinct; a district which from 2018 will house between 200 and 300 people with dementia.
This makes Odense the first Danish town to make a unique offer for people with dementia – the ambition is to make something that can inspire other municipalities as well as the rest of the world. The new city precinct is itself inspired by dementia village Hogeweyk in Holland. We live just over 150 elderly people with severe or extreme dementia in 23 houses that are specially designed to make them safe.
OK Foundation builds
“City for Life” will be built and operated by OK Foundation in close cooperation with Odense Municipality and the Fund’s director Michael Brostrøm think the new project will attract attention:
We set the bar high, and we believe that the “City of Life” will be something that scientists, caregivers and practitioners from near and far will travel to to experience. The project will provide a model for the way we put people at the center of, both in the home and the way life unfolds, he says. We have an ambition that we as a people should be allowed to live our lives as we can, and will, regardless of the scope of the changes over time.
OK Foundation, together with the Support Association Margurittens Friends have been looking for a local partner to develop a district which is designed to support people with dementia and provide them with more quality of life.
Two new dementia diagnoses per day
The number of people with dementia is increasing in Denmark, partly because we are living longer. On average, about two citizens every day are diagnosed with dementia, and in total, about 90,000 Danes with the disease. A disease that changes life dramatically for both the elderly and their relatives, and therefore older Councilman Per Berga glad the new offer:
Dementia is a big challenge, and it will only increase in the coming years. By building a dementia town we can arrange some environments and some homes that are particularly suited to provide support and quality of life for people with dementia, says the Councilman for the Elderly’s Per Berga (EL).
The goal is to create the framework for a life of independence and quality of life despite a disease that makes people deeply dependent on others.
The ambition of the “City of Life” is also to put Odense on the map in relation to dementia research. The plan is to set up test environments and research activities around the district, as both can contribute important new knowledge, growth and new jobs. And the part appeals to Mayor Anker Boye (S):
This is a fantastic opportunity for Odense. It allows us at the same time improving the welfare significantly for a vulnerable group of people, while we produce new knowledge and growth in the city. I am therefore very pleased and proud that the OK Foundation has chosen to invest in Odense, he says.
The Obel Family Foundation has also supported the project.
Efforts to find a suitable site in the city of Odense is underway and dementia district expected to be fully realized during 2018.