A Special Dutch Village: lessons to learn?

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Just outside Amsterdam, the small village of Hogeway only has 152 inhabitants. But Hogeway is more than just a tiny town.  It is, in fact , a special, cutting-edge community for Alzheimer’s patients that has its own town square, theatre, garden, and post office. Unlike typical villages however, this one has cameras monitoring residents every hour of every day, caretakers dressed in street clothes, and only one door in and out of town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe.  Friends and family are encouraged to visit.  Residents at Hogewey require fewer medications, eat better, live longer, and appear more joyful than those in standard elderly-care facilities.

Could this be an exciting model or blueprint for similar-type communities for adults with developmental disabilities?  Read more about Hogeway here and let me know what you think!

Click here for the terrific CNN profile on this unique community.

Click here for an article about Hogeway by the Daily Mail.

The link to the Hogeway website may be found here.

I believe there are many lessons we can model and apply for adults with developmental disabilities.

Visionaries Needed

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I always find the advent of spring and in particular, the beginning of May to be a motivating time for change and renewal. Simply put, the motivation and metaphor is obvious if you live in a cold, northern climate. Whether you’re a human, animal or plant, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of emerging from hibernation and basking in the welcome warmth of the sun.  It’s inspiring. This seasonal change and resulting inspiration helps me to re-energize and recalibrate my focus. I’m reminded that I don’t have to look far to see inspiring examples of people contributing to the greater good. I’m constantly amazed to meet people who choose to devote their lives to helping people with developmental disabilities. I see busy moms and dads volunteering their precious time to organize awareness and fundraising events like Buddy Walks. I’m awed by energetic university and college graduates who choose to spend their lives helping adults with developmental disabilities get through their challenging days with compassion, joy and dignity. Sure, it can seem daunting at first but as long as you have a vision of the world you’d like to see, you can be a catalyst and attract other like-minded people. It works – I’ve seen it happen. Whatever you do, big or small, you can be the change you want to see in the world. It all starts with you.

As Al Etmanski, the co-founder of the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) said: whatever your talent, it is always enlightened by love.