The Alzheimer’s Village in the Bufalotta neighbourhood has finally become a reality

20th July 2017

A brief yet fervent ceremony, opened a substantial area of the Village for people with Alzheimer’s disease in the Bufalotta neighbourhood in Rome, requested by the Chairman of Fondazione Roma, Professor Emmanuele F.M. Emanuele, back in 2012 when he visited a pioneering facility called De Hogeweyk in Weesp, near Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

‘Villaggio Emanuele’ was named after the Professor to because he was the first to have the idea and to emphasise his years long commitment to overcome various adversities.

The chairman cut the “first mile” ribbon, as it were, of the larger residential care facility in the presence of the governing bodies.  The facility will be finished by the end of this year and will be fully functioning at the beginning of 2018, when fourteen group homes for six residents each will be available together with a Day Centre for twenty persons.  Therefore, when the works are completed the village will house approximately one hundred residents, entirely free of charge.

On the 20th July, the first three homes for six residents each, fully furnished according to the cosmopolitan, traditional and urban lifestyles provided for in the project, the Day Centre and the amenities centre with a fully equipped beauty parlour, physiotherapy room, music room and an occupational therapy room were completed.

Once entirely finished, the village aims to fill the gap in care for people affected by senile dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, specifically as an alternative between their family home and residential nursing homes.  In fact, Fondazione Roma’s project aims to offer a valid alternative to the traditional approach to this disease in residential nursing homes where patients’ communication and emotive skills often decline rapidly because they are not recognised or enhanced.

Professor Emanuele expressed his satisfaction that his ambitious and complex project has finally been launched and that with this care facility and a leader in the non-profit sector Rome, regardless of its increasing administrative difficulties and deterioration on many fronts, proves to be in the forefront in addressing a health crisis, which for many years has been painful for those families who care for patients with this terrible disease that progressively destroys memory, thinking skills and the ability to carry our simple tasks.   The professor stated, “Ever since the beginning I aimed to ensure that people with this devastating disease could live peacefully and in freedom for as long as possible in a warm domestic environment with various recreational activities, a high quality of life and the necessary care and supervision.  We had to design an area equipped with all services that aimed to create a care model that enables patients to live as normal as possible lives during the course of their illness.  Considering that no cure has as yet been found, research and psychosocial and environmental strategies that create wellbeing and a feeling of self-control in patients and stability in their families are fundamental.  We aim to offer a reassuring, relaxing and dementia friendly environment that reduces the onset of behavioural disorders.  Aside from the facility, obviously the success of this project is mainly in the hands of the carers and volunteers who have the difficult task of building an efficient and solid relationship with the patients and their families and between these in order to create the right atmosphere of freedom, peace and safety.”

The Professor then thanked the Governing Bodies and the General Director of Fondazione Roma, the architects, Frank van Dillen and Gijs Pyckevet, the Project Manager, Federico Carrara, the Site Manager, Diego Barletti, the Interior Designer, Enzo Angiolini, other technicians, the Contactor and all those who helped him to overcome the many difficulties encountered and assured him that the project would be successful, stressing that it had been accomplished entirely with the resources of Fondazione Roma, which will manage the village in the future, with no financial burden on the public or residents, hopefully continuing the scientific collaboration with the Hogeweyk team.

Professor Emanuele said he is delighted that his pioneer project has been accepted and emulated elsewhere in Italy where similar villages for patients with cognitive impairments will apparently be built, whilst stressing that Fondazione Roma was the was the first to conceive and start the project in Italy.