France Is Building a Revolutionary ‘Alzheimer’s Village’ To Let Patients Roam Free


French patients that have Alzheimer’s disease will get a village of their own. They will live in a village that has stores, small shared houses, hairdressers, a library, gym and even a farm!

The work has just started, but as soon as the first “Alzheimer’s village” is built, patients will be free to roam the streets, improving their mental health and reducing anxiety.

People that live in the village in Dax will live like people in residential complexes, but the only different thing is that the residents will only be men and women that have Alzheimer’s.

Professor Jean-François Dartigues is a neurologist at the Pellegrin university hospital (Bordeaux). He explains that the patients would “maintain participation in social life,” with the help of this village:

“The brain is the organ of human relations par excellence.”

Late Henri Emmanuelli, who was a Socialist minister and local MP launched this idea when he heard about a village in Weesp, Netherlands especially created for old people with dementia.

The village is gated, but residents can move freely inside it. They are being watched over by medical staff that wears ordinary clothes and only has to care for them.

Compared to nursing homes, the village could make residents more active, happier, and require less medication.

Researchers will make a comparative study between this village and nursing homes to see “the impact of new therapeutic approaches on patients, carers, and medical staff,” said Prof Dartigues.

The village will look like a traditional historic center, to look more like the Landes area and keep the patients from feeling disorientated.

Inside the village, there will be 120 residents with Alzheimer’s, 100 carers that will live there and 120 volunteers to help with daily activities.

A Relaxed Environment for Patients and Visiting Families

Françoise Diris is the president of the France Alzheimer Landes association. He said that the village could be a great start:

“We hope that the patients will be less constrained and anxious, happier. The same goes for the medical staff. Families will also be more relaxed, and feel less guilty.”

The village received the majority of funds from the region. It cost €29 million, and it will cost €7 million to run. Patients will have to pay €66 per day – almost the same as they would pay in a traditional nursing home in France.

If the village is successful, it might lead to building many more in France, to help patients with Alzheimer’s live a peaceful and happy life in a safe environment.


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