Government announces funding for Heathcote dementia village

The state government has contributed $150,000 towards a feasibility study to investigate the viability of developing a dementia village in Heathcote.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes made the announcement in Heathcote this morning.

Funds will go towards the first stage of the feasibility study, which will consider the development of a secure residential aged care village across five acres.

The project has the potential to deliver care for up to 150 dementia patients, and would allow them to maintain a community lifestyle and maximise quality of life.

The village would be an Australian first, based on a Dutch model in the town of Hogeweyk, Wheesp and include facilities such as a supermarket, hairdressers, cafes and a theatre.

Heathcote Health chief executive officer Dan Douglass said dementia was the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians.

"It affects the brain but is not one specific disease. It affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks,” he said.

"It is exciting to think that the future of dementia care in Australia could be here in Heathcote. This is an example of a regional community leading the way and taking an innovative approach to solving a common and debilitating problem."

Consultants are expected to take up to 12 months to examine in detail whether the proposed village model is appropriate for a rural location, like Heathcote.

The study will also consider demand as well as whether the town can accommodate the large number of staff required, the impact on the community, and potential training and employment opportunities for local residents.