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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  December 28, 2013 1:30pm-2:01pm PST

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dementia could look like. he says it is one of the most humane things he has ever seen. i'll be back with the day's top stories in about 30 minutes. for now, here is dr. sanjay gupta, md. i'm here in the netherlands. for the last four years, there's been this grand experiment happening here. you see, in this village, all of the residents have severe dementia. went to talk about dementia very much, but if you consider the world, developed world, 65 million people are expected to have dementia by the year 2030. close to a hundred million 20 years after that and what to do with all these people with dementia. in many parts of the world, they are ignored. they live in these nondiscrypt
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buildings, lots of white coats, nonstop television and hardly anything but sedation. but what if those words could look something like this. entire villages, dedicated to people with dementia. welcome to a little village just minutes from downtown amsterdam. at first glance, it looks like any other small dutch town. but look closer. it's not. outsiders aren't allowed here. and everyone who lives within these walls has something in common. it's the last place any of them will ever call home.
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>> this is a neighborhood. >> a neighborhood for people with dementia. >> yes, yes. >> yvonne is one of the founders of this new age elder care facility. it was built in 2009 but only one of its kind anywhere in the world. >> i think one of the things that are very important to people with dementia is this they don't understand what's happening. around them. they don't understand the world any more. >> we tried to help people understand what's happening and let them feel that it's okay. >> for cory vicer, everything is okay. she seems happy here. even when thoo theo, her husband of 60 years, comes to visit. >> you come to visit here
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everyday? >> how do you describe this place to your friends? >> perfect. it's perfect. i wouldn't know a better place for her. it's a hundred percent good. >> before she came here, i visited five other places and i definitely saw that this was the best place for her. >> what makes this place better? >> this place is open. people can enjoy the seasons. they can really feel if it's cold or warm. they can visit a restaurant. they can drink a cup of tea and they are free to go wherever they want it go. >> wherever they want to go, except in the real world. these sliding glass doors are
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the only doors that lock. this is the only way in and only way out. >> this is the site where there was a previous nursing home. >> yes. >> you worked that nursing home. >> yes. >> you add transformation, if you will, yourself, where you basically decided that wasn't good enough. was there a moment or was there some particular event that really sparked that for you? >> for me, that was the moment that my mother called me and told me that my father had passed away suddenly. nothing was wrong with him. he just had heart attack and died. one of the first things i thought was thank god he never got to be in a nursing home. that's crazy. that i have to think that. i'm in management of nursing home. and i don't want my father to come there. >> wow. >> that's crazy. my colleagues in the management team had similar thoughts and had one day we said, well, let's
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talk about these. because this is very important and we set down and one day in november, and in 1992, let's take one day and decide on what to do to make nursing homes worthwhile living. and we did. >> a four-acre complex. home to 23 housing units and seven different lifestyle things. such as craft. culture, urban living. look at colors, artwork, choice of dishware, specific to this particular lifestyle. >> and those people, you live with, should be people that could be your friends. people you would pick to live with, and not just the first coming around. those people probably have the same ideas on life. same values, and we call that
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lifestyles. >> sounds like a pretty good life. >> it's actually quite normal. >> and a normal life. that's keet. >> it's normal. but it is very hard to be normal. >> creating a sense of normalcy is the number one goal here. often times, that means creating a routine and sticking to it. >> if you walk in here, this will look like just about any other grocery store to you. but i want to point out things that are different. you see the same products. juices, you can buy just about anything you want. cleaning products. but you will notice quickly, there's no prices on anything. as you br to see, there's no money exchanged hands either. the customers, as you might guess, are very different type of clientele here. they are residents of this village. they all have severe dementia. often times they come here with their care-givers. ultimately when they come up to the front desk after buying all of their products, they don't exchange any money. and trudy, a staff member, is
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trained specifically to handle people with dementia. >> oh, an in case i don't see you, good morning, good afternoon and good night. >> some compare this to "the trueman show." a man played by jim carrey discovers his entire life is actually a tv program. everything he thinks is real is a mirage. created by television producers. >> do the people here ever feel -- do you ever get the impression that they feel like they're being fooled or duped in any way? >> why should they feel they are fooled? we have in society here. a supermarket is not a show. it's a real supermarket. maybe we are fooling them when we say it's okay what you're doing.
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but that's because we want to help people enjoy life and make them feel welcome here on this earth. >> for the rest of their lives. because here, a vacancy only becomes available when a current resident passes away. [ male announcer ] this is jim, a man who doesn't stand still. but jim has afib, atrial fibrillation -- an irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. that puts jim at a greater risk of stroke. for years, jim's medicine tied him
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anna has been making music with her husband, ben, for as long as they've been together. >> how did you meet? >> in a pub. >> in a pub? >> yes. >> did you -- did someone introduce you or did you just meet someone in a pub? >> i went with a friend of me in there, and they were playing card. but then, after, he offered me a drink. and bit by bit we fall in love. to this moment. >> do you remember that, ben? do you remember the playing of the cards and buying of the drink? >> oh, yeah. >> in comparison with other residents, ben is a lucky man.
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these days he can still manage to get a few words out here and there. but doctors warn his alzheimer's disease is rapidly progressing. >> i hear a lot of music here. people singing piano playing. how important is music? >> music is very important. because people with dementia, we see the people with dementia and scientifically shown also that music is part that in the brain that functions the longest. we have even seen people who don't talk any more but they can sing songs. i've seen people playing instruments, music is one of them. >> you come visit everyday? >> yes. sometimes i try one day a week. not to come. so i do other things. but yes. normally six days a week and
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sometimes seven. i think that's wonderful but is it hard for to you do? >> and i don't feel fine when i didn't visit him. because he's still waiting for me everyday. >> yeah. he likes that i am coming. >> what is the hardest part about all of this for you? >> oh, now, communication. and i think you can see that she is losing so many things. but he's still a kind man. he's not aggressive. and that's wonderful. >> unfortunately, aggressive
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behavior is not uncommon in late-stage alzheimer's. often times triggered by confusion or frustration. it can occur suddenly. that's where resident social worker comes in. >> you never leave your phone, do you? >> no, i don't. >> what happens? >> how many calls a day are you getting? >> depends. for now, we've got a -- here and he gets very nervous and agitated. i have to go in there and try to calm him down. >> what's the most common sort of call that you get? >> people are nervous and restless. every person, a trick book. >> have you a trick book? >> yeah. . >> so for this person who is aggressive, what are your tricks? >> well, sometimes i go there and i say, i was looking for
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you. and be really enthusiastic. so he thinks she knows me. >> so you have to sort of be creative. >> yeah, really creative. >> creativity usually comes at a higher cost. but here, that's not the case. in the netherlands, a state run system. >> what about the cost? how is it paid for? >> it is a system and we have the same budget as any other nursing home. we have no more. no less. >> we'll take anybody. what about mild? too mild a dementia? >> you need the indication for severe dimen that. if you have mild dementia, then you don't have indication to come here. >> and i'm sure there's specific clinical criteria. but can you describe generally what that means? >> generally, it's that somebody needs attention, support for 2 4 hours a day.
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>> you have 152 people living here? >> yes. >> as you say, people come here but then they also die here. you just saw it today. >> yes. >> how is that for you? >> well, you know, for a lot of people you think, well, they've had their life and they are ready to die. you see that some people are relieved that they can die. >> up until this moment, they are watched over and comforted by full and part-time care givers who outnumber the residents 2-1. >> you see, every single worker, and volunteer working in the supermarket, restaurant -- even the hair salon, has been especially trained to take care of people with severe dementia. >> so part of having a normal society is being able to get your hair done as well. >> yes. >> how busy are you?
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>> it is a very special work. >> you do it. >> the simple act of brushing ina's hair seems to have a calming affect. >> hopefully she still recognizes herself in the mirror. the same, sadly, cannot be said for everyone i met. to a close,
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spending a few days shows what growing old could look like. but all of the comforting stories couldn't soften the blow with meeting the toughest cases. >> how old are you? >> i've been born in -- >> hard to remember. >> 1926, i mean. >> 1926. >> yes, i mean, i don't know
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exactly. >> i don't know exactly. you hear that a lot around here. as time goes by, the grasp on reality fades. for residents like yole. >> you say you have a job? >> yes. >> what do you do? >> i guess a -- i don't know. tomorrow i know it. then i have to go to it. >> are there absolutely no-nos. things you should never do when you're dealing with someone with dementia? >> yes, correct them. say, no, don't do this, don't do that. they won't remember, so why would you? they are not a child or something. >> are you happy here? >> oh, yes. yes, yes. i am a happy people. i like, i have children, i have
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a father and a mother. >> when is the last time you saw your parents? >> my parents? >> yes. >> oh, yes. >> you saw them yesterday? >> yes. >> do you try and jog people's memory, refresh their memory? or do you just let them -- do you redirect them? what is injuyour strategy. >> depends on the face of dementia. very often people ask me, where are my parents. that's a daily question. and in the beginning you can ask if a person is not so far in their dementia, you can ask, how old are you? and someone will say, i'm 84. you say how old would your parents be? then they can think and well, oh, that doesn't make sense. >> yole's dementia has progressed too far to process that kind of logic. but if it bothers her at all, you can't tell. >> and with so many other residents just like her, there
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are special modifications here to keep everyone safe. >> while sometimes the small things make a difference in a village like this. take an elevator for example. maybe you don't know what this does, exactly, but there is a censor there. turns on that button there. that calls the elevator. i didn't have to touch anything. perhaps i wouldn't know what this door was going to do. but now when i walk into the elevator, without touching anything, with my weight alone, sense that someone is here, and won't take me up to the next floor. >> study and study shows that stimulating the mind is the best way to slow the brain's decline. there are 25 clubs, including this one, for example, baking. just to help keep residents active. >> when i ask someone to finish
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the table, i won't ask them to dot table because that is like asking you, make me a puzzle, a thousands pieces. i give them the last plate and say, can you do this for me. you do it and i say, thank you. because of you, we can eat. >> you say that there are results. >> yes. >> do you think people are physically healthier living in this environment? >> yes. we see that people are invited to exercise more. because everybody can go outside. walk in the sun. social contacts are very important for people with dementia. and different parts of the brains to connect and we see that people meet others here. this life helps people live a healthy life. that helps people to get strong. >> and that's been shown now. and in terms of eating. they eat better. in terms of getting off of medications. and living longer. do you see that? >> we are living longer, and we
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haven't haven't done that yet. in 1992 we started this. and people came in with the same indication and they would stay an average of 22, 2 1/2 years. now 3, 3 1/2 years. it is not scientific, but i can count. >> and here, people can still be their self, they can be human. be a. they are not just a person with dementia or they are still a person and do whatever they like. hi. i have to go. >> duty calls. >> yes. >> bye. >> one of the most difficult residents has barricaded himself inside his home. it's happened before. and just like that, she is on her way. >> you talked about the fact
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that the place that you used to work, you couldn't imagine your own parents being there. it aalways difficult to think about our parents in these type of situations. >> my mother has mild dementia. she lives in a home for the elderly. i see that she is very happy there. >> where does this go from here for you? right now, have you this neighborhood again. a normal neighborhood as you put it. 152 residents. what would you want it to be in five or ten years? >> what we are looking at is we want it to be possible for our residents to live here too. but that's in the system we have here in the netherlands at the moment, that's not possible. not with the budget we have. >> could this work? other -- you've traveled around the world. could this work in other cultures, other countries? >> the concept could work. this is dutch. we have dutch designs. we have dutch cultures.
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actually, what it means, is is living their life as usual and can you do that everywhere. >> on a physical level. they eat better and yes, live longer. on a mental level, they also seem to have more joy. it is the most important thing according to the leadership here. could this work in other parts of the world? that's the next question. ♪ [ male announcer ] the parking lot helps by letting us know who's coming. the carts keep everyone on the right track. the power tools introduce themselves. all the bits and bulbs keep themselves stocked. and the doors even handle the checkout so we can work on that thing that's stuck in the thing.
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here in the cnn newsroom, i'm rosa flores. millions of shoppers whose information was compromised at target are getting more bad news. cnn's alexandra field is live outside target. should shoppers get new debit cards, is that solution, you think? >> there is no good reason not to. that's the advice from security experts.


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