“Forget Me Not Village” Aims to Bring Dementia Village Model to Rural U.S.
A recent article in The News Review spotlighted the founder of “Forget Me Not Village,” a care facility that uses a “dementia village” model to give residents significant freedom in a comfortable, homely setting.
Founder Pam Speta was a care partner for her husband, and experienced the isolation and strain that dementia caregiving can cause; she eventually suffered a heart attack due to the stress.
“There’s just no support and you’re already isolated … I literally got home from work, got locked in the house and didn’t get unlocked until I went back to work,” said Speta.
These experiences would eventually result in Speta founding Forget Me Not Village in November 2021. Unlike other dementia villages, Speta’s version includes spouses in the care model, with on-site apartments designed to house couples together.
“This concept has never been done anywhere else in the world,” Speta said. “We’re the first ones to provide a home for families as well as emotional support, access to information, that communal setting to help one another and keep expenses under control.”
Apartments are part of a larger communal house, which also features communal areas for residents to cook, eat, and relax together. Residents pitch in to buy food together to save money. Apartments cost $2,900 a month, less than half of the monthly cost of a traditional care facility.
The village is still in development, with plans to expand living spaces to accommodate more apartments for couples, and a care home for residents without a care partner. Additionally, the village hopes to open a “victory town,” a common area designed to replicate a small-town square, with amenities such as a movie theater and shop.
In addition to communal spaces, Forget Me Not Village also offers a specialized exercise program for residents, and classes on dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Speta said she hopes that Forget Me Not Village’s care model can be spread throughout the rural U.S.
“This is for a rural area, this isn’t for the big city,” Speta said. “The big city has got everything imaginable. Here, it’s telemedicine or driving for an hour. This is designed to be replicated in small towns that don’t have the resources.”
If you’re interested in reading more about the dementia village care model, read about The Hogeweyk, a dementia care facility in the Netherlands meant to resemble a typical Dutch village.
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