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Living with dementia: Innovative projects making a difference

Discover some innovative projects tackling dementia care in countries around the world. 


An estimated 55 million people worldwide live with dementia with numbers expected to rise to 139 million by 2050. While there is currently no cure, a range of support is available for both people living with dementia and their carers and supporters.


On the University of Hull’s online MSc in Dementia, you’ll gain insight into current approaches and the experiences of those affected by dementia. Below, we look at some of the most innovative ways different countries are tackling dementia care. 


''Dementia' is the term used to describe a wide range of conditions that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common and well-known cause of dementia, but other conditions which lead to problems in these areas include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and Huntington's disease.


Early symptoms can include memory loss (though this is often not the first problem people notice), difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language and changes in personality. 


As researchers across the globe seek a cure, health professionals are constantly finding new ways to help improve the lives of people affected by dementia. From cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) and rehabilitation to complementary therapies, life story and reminiscence work, music and creative arts, there are many innovative treatments and approaches being trialled.


Want to learn what it means to live well with dementia? Discover Hull Online's MSc:



The Hogeweyk Dementia Village, The Netherlands  


Built on four acres of land in the town of Weesp, near Amsterdam, at a cost €19.3 million, the Hogeweyk dementia village has given around 150 people living with severe dementia the opportunity to live rich and fulfilling  lives. Its residents are not only more active, but also require less medication than  people living in traditional supported care environments.  


This pioneering care facility features multiple homes built to resemble different times periods from the 1950s, 70s, and the 2000s. Around five to seven residents live together in one house to provide a sense of community, supported by a team of doctors, nurses and specialists working around the clock. The village has streets, squares, gardens and a park where the residents can walk , taking advantage of facilities including a post office, restaurant, bar and theatre. 


Time for Dementia, United Kingdom (UK) 


Time for Dementia is a multi-award-winning educational programme which gives undergraduate healthcare students the chance to regularly meet face-to-face and/or virtually with a person with dementia and their carer. Funded by Health Education England, the programme has been running since 2014 and enables the students to get to know the person and the carer outside clinical settings .  


Over 1,600 families in Southern England have enabled over 5,600 students to gain a better understanding of dementia. In addition to improving students’ knowledge, understanding, and attitudes towards dementia, it also builds their confidence and skills in communicating with people with dementia whilst also giving  them greater awareness of the role of carers.


Meanwhile, people affected by dementia who have taken part in the scheme say the experience has developed their own confidence, given them new skills, the opportunity to learn more about dementia, share knowledge and feel valued. 


Het Ventiel, Belgium 


While dementia tends to be associated with older age, , it can also be diagnosed before the age of 65 (young onset dementia). Of the 900,000 people in the UK living with dementia, for example, over 42,000 are living with young-onset dementia.


Although younger people experience similar symptoms to older people with dementia, due to their age, the impact on their lives and family is significantly different – they may be unable to work and are unlikely to know anyone else in their situation, so may feel very isolated. 


Het Ventiel, a voluntary organisation in Belgium, was established to assist people diagnosed with young onset dementia by offering a support group where affected individuals can share information and interact with others.


Volunteers are called upon to become buddies with  around 90 individuals affected by the condition. These buddies come from all layers of society, from students to pensioners, and their only requirement is a willingness to devote their time to make someone else’s life more fulfilling . 


Dementia Experience, American 


The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) Dementia Experience programme uses virtual reality (VR) technology to help caregivers and families understand what it is like living with dementia so they can be more empathetic and compassionate towards those with dementia.  


An Oculus Go headset projects a 3D experience enabling participants to spend three minutes in the life of ‘Harry’, a fictional character diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. They experience some of the common symptoms of dementia, like sensory disorientation and vision impairment.  


Now it’s your turn… 


Perhaps you already have ideas on how to improve the lives of those affected by dementia or simply want to help make a difference.  


At the University of Hull, we are committed to helping you take the next step in your education. With start dates in January, May and September, our 100% online MSc in Dementia is studied part-time over two years.


The programme has been written in collaboration with a group of people living with dementia and is fundamentally informed by their experiences - who better to help you understand more about the condition!   


To find out more, contact our Course Adviser by telephoning +44 (0)1482 235569, sending a WhatsApp message to +44 (0)1482 235570, emailing or completing the form below:

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