Provider Plans to Scale Dementia Village Concept to 100 Locations

A San Diego-based adult day care provider has announced an ambitious plan to open 100 dementia care centers throughout the country — but only after it opens its first one next spring.

Nonprofit Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers is partnering with developer Village Holdings to open its first “Town Square” replica city concept at the site of a former lumber company in Chula Vista, California, in the spring of 2018.

The concept is similar to the sort of care you’d find at the residential skilled nursing Hogewey community near Amsterdam in The Netherlands. That community has a local post office, bus stop and town square, all of which are designed to look and operate like they would have in the past.

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Much like its Dutch counterpart, Glenner’s Town Square will have vintage cars, storefronts and other tangible props meant to bring back memories of a bygone era. The only difference is that Town Square will be an adult day care, not a residential community, Lisa Tyburski, Glenner’s director of business development, tells Senior Housing News.

Currently, Glenner operates three day centers, all of which use a treatment called reminiscence therapy to similar effect. But that treatment doesn’t include set pieces or other elaborate setups.

“In Town Square, it will be completely immersive,” Tyburski says. “There will be a ‘50s diner, there will be a pet store with a huge fish tank… a museum, a library, a department store with things they can try on or mess around with.”

The eventual plan is to open all of the Town Square sites to area assisted living providers on the weekend for field trips or other activities.

Big plans ahead

Village Holdings will build the replica city in Chula Vista with designs and other construction support from the San Diego Opera Scenic Studio. Total construction costs are estimated to total about $650,000, which is less than your average memory care repositioning project or new build.

When the location opens next year, Glenner and Village Holdings will begin the arduous task of finding more sites to buy and build. Though the nonprofit is targeting California for its initial expansion, subsequent locations are planned for the rest of the country, too.

“Once we get that done and operational, we’re going to try to do about five of them a year,” Tyburski says. “Eventually, [there] will be 100 across the country.”

Despite the long road ahead, Tyburski isn’t sweating it.

“I think it is a lot of work, but we’re pretty motivated and set up among our partners,” she says.

Written by Tim Regan

(Renderings courtesy of Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers)

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