Innovative Care Without Moving to the Netherlands: Hogeweyk, Homewatch CareGivers, and Groundbreaking Principles of Eldercare in McHenry County

two women in field

Warm, vintage furniture and personal effects occupy a living room and conjoined dining room in a softly lit home. These rooms open to a sliding glass door and patio which lead to a pleasant plaza. The plaza fills the space between apartments with reeds, bushes, local trees, and a paved path that carries residents to an assortment of shops and activities. Plainly dressed elders, staff, and even local community members intermix in this little Dutch village which feels like a typical community. One thing, however, makes this community unique. This village is actually a memory care unit of a nursing home called Hogeweyk. The Hogeweyk version of memory care in an institutional setting conflicts sharply with the image most people have of nursing homes and memory care facilities. That is why this new vision of elder care with the relatively startling level of autonomy and dignity that elders receive at Hogeweyk has made international waves among news agencies.

On October 24, 2023, the NPR podcast Throughline published an episode entitled, “Model Village” which explains what makes Hogeweyk different. Opened in 2009, this state-funded memory care facility began to challenge prevailing systems of care by creating a less institutional and more home-like environment for people with dementia and memory loss. Podcast host, Roman Mars, showed his listeners that through innovations in the way dementia care is typically approached and shifts in architectural design, the lives of the residents in Hogeweyk are greatly improved compared to those who live in a traditional nursing home.

Hogeweyk is famous for several reasons. The first is that they believe dignity is central to providing the best dementia care. Second, they believe that dignity for elders is only achievable if their caregivers allow for elder autonomy. Third, they believe that elders have a right to a calm and homey environment.

Before you jump on a plane and move to the Netherlands with your aging loved ones, consider the resources that already exist in your home and community. No, there aren’t any Hogeweyk’s in Lake Zurich, or even in the United States but at Homewatch CareGivers of Crystal Lake, we have been applying the same principles as Hogeweyk to the top-quality home care we’ve offered in McHenry County for many years.

A facility that breaks free from the old mold of clinical care with an institutional feel is crucial for our world. Nicer furnishings in a nursing home are no small thing, but what is more comfortable and dignifying than being able to stay in your own home? Partnering with elders to ensure they maintain their maximum level of autonomy is at the core of our principles. As a home care company near you, not only does our care allow you to stay in your home, but it also keeps you in your community. You can set your caregiver schedule to help as much or as little as you need and can even prioritize specific activities like shopping, cleaning, cooking, or just spending time together. Our customizable homecare services in Barrington provide a unique level of care, that for the right client, exceeds the care of even the very best nursing homes.

We understand that finding the right elder care services is a deeply personal experience that can feel overwhelming. The cultural narrative around nursing homes can be negative, and many people don’t know that homecare is an option that can be flexible with various budgets and needs, so many families feel stuck. At Homewatch CareGivers of Crystal Lake, we are here to help, and we believe memory care should be a dignified and joyful experience.

Hogeweyk and other nursing home innovators are beginning to take steps to reverse the narrative about memory care, and so are we. Our core principles of dignified, autonomous, and safe care set us apart and make your choice of homecare provider an easy one.

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