It Takes a Village

August 28, 2019

France has begun construction on an awe-inspiring $28 million dollar “Alzheimer’s Village” as part of an experimental treatment for sufferers of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or dementia. The “village” is designed to promote healthy aging by allowing its residents to continue their normal lifestyle and not succumb to some of the crippling effects of their illness. In modeling this French concept, we will learn how to “safety-proof” the homes of our aging loved ones as well as the life-saving questions to ask when visiting them.

Back in the French countryside, the Alzheimer’s complex will house over 100 residents and includes amenities such as shops, a gym, a restaurant and even a small farm. The interesting layout mimics the medieval town of the region’s historic settlements yet has some modern frills such as a hairdresser. Residents can walk around freely and maintain a social life, despite their condition. The roughly 200 employee caregivers and staff are clad in plainclothes and don’t wear scrubs.

The project will reportedly cost an approximate $28 million dollars to construct, mostly paid for by the French regional government. The fundamental idea surrounding this project is to provide those with AD or dementia an environment where they can feel free and part of society whilst the researchers investigate whether the new environment provides better treatment for these types of illnesses.

It takes a “village” to care for aging adults and sometimes that resource is simply not available. Many families are faced with the burdensome decision of whether they should leave their elderly loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s at home or not. Most seniors want to live in their own home as long as possible. They love the comfort and the familiarity of their well-known environment. Most accidents, however, occur around the home. Falls that happen at home are the first cause of hospitalization and emergency room visits for seniors. Below are some simple and inexpensive ways to create a safer home for your loved one:

Common Areas in the House

  • Make sure there is adequate lighting.
  • Make sure extension cords are flush against the walls and not in any pathways.
  • Remove all clutter.
  • Remove all the rugs to prevent tripping or falling.


  • Majority of accidents occur in the bathroom.
  • A walk-in-shower, instead of a bathtub, reduces the risk of falling.
  • Install grab bars around the shower and toilet.
  • Use rugs with non-slip-backing or secure them to the ground with double-sided tape.


  • Keep items that are used regularly on lower shelves, to prevent reaching and falling.


  • Have a secure handrail.
  • Make sure stairwells are clutter free.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it is crucial to keep an eye on both. Next time you visit your older family members, do a quick inspection around the entire house and take a closer look at their appearance. Ask yourself the following life-saving questions which are often key indicators of the onset of AD:

  • Is memory loss interfering with their ability to perform day-to-day activities?
  • If they are still driving, do they get lost in common places?
  • Are they forgetful of certain common words when speaking?
  • Observe whether they appear unstable when getting up or down from chairs.
  • Do you see a pile of bills that have not been opened?
  • When was the last time they took out the garbage?
  • Is there a lot of clutter and any hoarding tendency?
  • Has their weight changed and are they properly dressed according to the season?
  • Are there medicine bottles throughout the house and some of them are full?

Watching a loved one get older and being their caregiver is no easy feat. We want to fortify their castle to ensure they age in a positive safe environment. Contact OC Estate & Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or to get more information on elder law, elder care, and proper legal documents that are crucial for any aging individual.