Care and well-being are approached differently in Klein Veldekens than in traditional care homes. Residents with differing care profiles find a new home on Aedifica’s innovative care campus in Geel. It has 132 spacious apartments that give them every opportunity to retain their autonomy and their dignity. In addition, the campus acts as a care node for the neighbourhood.
Creating well-being for residents is central to the Klein Veldekens philosophy. The spacious apartments on the campus play an important role here.
‘The spatial quality of housing strengthens the identity and autonomy of the residents and that is crucial for their well-being’, says Michiel Verhaegen, director at the non-profit organisation Astor, which developed and runs the campus. ‘Grandchildren, family and friends come by more often and stay longer because they can spend time in a spacious and pleasant environment with our residents. By strengthening these social links, we counter loneliness and create well-being for our residents.’
As well-being is closely connected to dignity, Klein Veldekens helps the residents to live as freely and independently as they can. Self-care is encouraged as much as possible. ‘Unlike in conventional care homes, each apartment has its own kitchen. So residents can not only cook for themselves, but they can also have meals with family without having to go to a communal area. In this way, the apartments increase the privacy of the residents’ own families.’
Living apart was hard. If your wife has to go into a care home, you wonder whether she is being properly looked after there. The big advantage here is that we can stay together with the cosiness of our own home, while my wife gets the care she needs.
Walter Stoelmans – Klein Veldekens resident
Well-being is also enhanced by the flexibility of the care on offer. The great advantage of this is that residents no longer have to move when their care needs increase. ‘People can move in even though they don’t yet need any care. The apartment remains theirs, regardless of how their care needs change’, Verhaegen explains. ‘In a conventional context, elderly people have to move from their senior’s apartment to a care home when they need more care, because the care funding is granted per room. With us, that is not the case. As a pilot project supported by the Flemish government, Klein Veldekens can grant care funding flexibly, depending on the care needs of the residents, regardless of the type of home they are in. So residents no longer need to move when their care needs increase.’
‘This new system also offers a solution for couples’, Verhaegen goes on. ‘Here, couples with differing care needs do not have to be separated when one partner needs more care than the other. Even if both partners need a lot of care, they can carry on living together as a couple.’
And there’s more. Klein Veldekens was designed as an inclusive social project. On the campus, not only do the elderly find a new home, but younger people with care needs owing, for example, to a brain injury or a congenital impairment live here, too. The care campus also endeavours to involve and activate the neighbourhood as much as possible. The restaurant is accessible to everyone and can also be used as a co-working facility. In addition, the campus offers complementary care functions for local people, such as child day care and a doctor’s surgery.
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