Just over 25 years ago, Yvonne van Amerongen struck up a conversation with colleagues at the ordinary nursing home where they worked. They looked around at the wards and common rooms where 20 people sat watching TV, doing nothing, waiting either for medication or meals. “It wasn’t living. It was a kind of dying,” she said. None of the staff said they wanted their parents to spent their last months or years in a place like it, so an idea of a new community to look after dementia patients was born. Today, Yvonne is Head of Quality and Innovation at nursing home company Hogewey, and one of the founders of De Hogeweyk, the firm’s gated model village in Weesp, a small town in part of the Amsterdam metropolitan area which lies on the river Vecht, that is home to 152 elderly people with dementia.