1) Yes culture 2) The importance of Use it or lose it: one activity 3) Extended family approach instead of the medical approach 4) Importance of conversation pieces like, paintings, pets, reminiscence museum etc.
Professor Dr Hans Becker, Chairman of Humanitas Foundation and CEO, Residence Roosenburch, in the Netherlands, is a driving force behind the concept of ‘Apartments for Life’.
Fifteen years ago, the Dutch older people started demanding an alternative to old-style nursing homes and hostels. They wanted to be able to go on living independently and stay in their own communities for as long as they could even if their health declined and they could no longer get around.
‘Apartments for Life’ is a response to this challenge, pioneered by the Humanitas Foundation in Rotterdam in the mid-1990s. It began with 350 apartments in three complexes in 1995 and has really taken off.
Human happiness – that is the business we are in – is not about ‘cure and care’. There is not much to cure when someone has Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, or even arthritis in the knees. The care elements have to be there, but they should be in the background. The ‘Apartments for Life’ philosophy has four basic values:
Boss of your own life. Use it or lose it. Extended family approach. A yes culture.
The Humanitas approach is that residents should be the boss of their own life, with their own front door so they are truly a resident, not just ‘staying’ in a room that belongs to an institution.