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Dutch Nurse opens a stunning courtyard housing project for the elderly to combat loneliness.

3 min read

Better Society
Source: NH Nieuws

In the Dutch town Anna Paulowna a special courtyard has recently opened. It is a place where seniors can live independently, but care assistance is within reach and contact with fellow residents is encouraged.

Initiator Jennifer Hofmeijer created a place where seniors can live independently, but have care assistance within reach. Living in a courtyard offers many advantages; it provides a (real-life ;-) social network with a sense of security and togetherness. A little bit like those
Like back in the days, but with the possibilities of today Initiator Jennifer Hofmeijer created a place where seniors can live independently, but have care assistance within reach. Living in a courtyard offers many advantages; it provides a (real-life 😉 social network with a sense of security and togetherness. A little bit like those “good old days”, but then with all the conveniences of today. Source: Photo: bouwbedrijf Appelman
This courtyard (Polder Hofje in Dutch) is a unique housing form for seniors, with safety, durability for the future and social coherence are at the core. The Polder Hofje is not a retirement home, where people
Future-proof This courtyard (Polder Hofje in Dutch) is a unique housing form for seniors, with safety, durability for the future and social coherence are at the core. The Polder Hofje is not a retirement home, where people “have to drink coffee together”. The courtyard is for seniors, where residents take account of aging. In the Polder Hofje the houses are future-proof. A house where children and / or grandchildren can stay the night. “People love having some space, people love an environment where they can invite people” says Jennifer Hofmeijer. Source: Photo: Jurgen van den Bos ( NH Nieuws)
The residents own their homes. At the Homeowners Association, residents not only purchase maintenance but also care. All houses have the facilities that the residents need, such as a lift and wheelchair-friendly sanitary facilities. It is important that the residents themselves remain in control of their lives, but with a nurse who is always close by. They do all they can to provide a carefree old age to the residents.
Careless living The residents own their homes. At the Homeowners Association, residents not only purchase maintenance but also care. All houses have the facilities that the residents need, such as a lift and wheelchair-friendly sanitary facilities. It is important that the residents themselves remain in control of their lives, but with a nurse who is always close by. They do all they can to provide a carefree old age to the residents. Source: None

The courtyard from a birds-eye view Source: None
Hofmeijer and her team drew inspiration from the old Dutch courtyards in Alkmaar and Amsterdam.
The courtyard is built in an old-Dutch style with stepped gables, bell gables, a water pump and a lawn in the middle, surrounded by a lot of space where the new residents can gather. “We want to connect people here so that they do not have to face the threat of loneliness.
Inspired by old courtyards Hofmeijer and her team drew inspiration from the old Dutch courtyards in Alkmaar and Amsterdam.
The courtyard is built in an old-Dutch style with stepped gables, bell gables, a water pump and a lawn in the middle, surrounded by a lot of space where the new residents can gather. “We want to connect people here so that they do not have to face the threat of loneliness.” Source: Polderhofje.nl

The why and how

Initiator Jennifer Hofmeijer has devised and developed Het Polder Hofje herself. As a nurse, she has a lot of experience with elderly care. She has been working in health care since she was 17. In the hospital, in intensive care, heart monitoring and then ended up working as a nurse in the ambulance. 

In 2011 she developed the Polder Résidence in Breezand where vulnerable elderly people, especially those with dementia, are cared for. It is a small-scale accommodation. And next to the Polder Résidence, she developed the Polder Hoeve where nine people are cared for. A total of 22 seniors now live here.
"Nowadays people have their own rooms. But the welfare is inadequate. If you don’t do anything with these people, if I just sit them down at the breakfast table in the morning, nothing would happen. Elderly care needs to be done differently; money should not be spent on managers but on people in the workplace." 

According to Hofmeijer, the residents need incentives and the staff must be enabled and empowered to provide stimulus.

Source: NH Nieuws

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