The Dementia Village: Between Community and Society

In: Care in Healthcare: Reflections on Theory and Practice [Internet]. Cham (CH): Palgrave Macmillan; 2018.


Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Germany’s first Dementia Village, this chapter explores the rewards as well as the trials and tribulations of community creation within the confines of the modern welfare state. The paper shows how the creation of a Dementia Village—created as a communal space for its residents that is governed by societal standards of care—ties into long-standing traditions in social thought and speaks to the tension of combining sociality with rationalised bureaucratic efficiency. Through a review of conversations and ethnographic observations, the paper argues that although care in a Dementia Village at first appeared to redraw the map of dementia care, the landscape remained unaltered. Just as in other care environments, both carers and residents lived and worked in an environment that locates intimacy and compassion in one place and the biomedical and bureaucratic exigencies of modern biomedicine and care philosophies in another.

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