Hogewey: The Most Humane Treatment You’ll Never Remember

Have you seen the movie The Truman Show? Of course you’ve seen it, that was just a rhetorical question. It’s the one starring Jim Carrey as a sort of goofy, but instantly likeable thirty-something bachelor, remember? Anyways, The Truman Show, as you all no doubt remember, was about the titular character Truman, who slowly discovers that he’s living inside a TV studio and that his entire life has been broadcasted to a world-wide audience. The movie was prophetical for showing that there could be a future in which people would be famous for no other reason than them being made famous by an insane media hype. In addition, it’s a movie that was full of not-so subtle religious symbolism that is, depending on who you ask, either overtly Christian or deeply Satanic, and it even has its own psychological delusion named after it. All this put together still doesn’t make it half as creepy as what we sober, down to Earth, and practical Dutchies have done: we created an entire town dedicated to making Alzheimer patients think they are living everyday life as it was half a century ago. In our battle against an awful disease that might affect 1 out of 85 people in the near future, the Dutch decided to build the small town of Hogewey, a self-proclaimed “theater” where the audience is unaware that they are the show.

Side-effects to the employers include questioning the nature of their own reality and constantly humming "You can check in every-time you want, but you can never leave!"
Side-effects to the employers include questioning the nature of their own reality and constantly humming “You can check-out every time you want, but you can never leave!” Source

Opening a new philosophical cesspool on the question of whether or not truth matters, all 150 or so inhabitants are under 24h surveillance by medical personnel that sometimes works double service operating the town’s stores, movie theater, or restaurant. Following the adage “Treat the person and not the illness”, and realizing that recovery is no option, everything at Hogewey is aimed at making life of the Alzheimer patients as comfortable, safe, and normal as possible, each housing designed to be reminiscent of the formative years of the inhabitant. But the staff is by no means obliged to lie when an inhabitant suspects something is wrong and asks whether or not they are part of a puppet show. To quote Hogewey’s information officer: “Often, they will have forgotten the answer ten minutes later.” Though vaguely reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopian society portrayed in Nineteen Eighty-Four (I told you before that this comparison is overused), the town undeniably has positive effects on the inhabitants and their relatives (Alzheimer is a disease that is notoriously hard on the relatives of the patient). Hogewey has attracted more and more attention over the last years, meaning that more of these small towns will surface around the world. Meaning that you could end up living in one of them one day. That is, if you aren’t already…

Frank Kool
Born and raised in Holland, spent his time procrastinating and studying Psychology and Philosophy. Frank harbors a special interest in weird social phenomena (which are ALL social phenomenon if you think about them long enough).

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