The Village In Langley, British Columbia

Located in Langley, British Columbia is Canada’s first-ever “dementia village" (aka The Village), a senior/nursing housing community that's far from feeling like an institution. Instead, The Village seeks to offer the experience of a “normal” home for people living with dementia.

Although Langley Township isn't as bustling as Vancouver, I think it's a more suitable location for The Village residents. Just East of Surrey, Langley is a highly suburban community that still has the workings of your average city with an urban downtown centre. This is balanced with a more agricultural vibe if you travel slightly south. Langley even has wineries! There are plenty of tours to choose from, including touring the Lavender farms, beautiful gardens, historical sites, and so much more!



Photo Courtesy of DailyHive



The Village is a privately funded community that was inspired by Holland's "de Hogeweyk", which is also known as the first dementia village in the world by the Green House Project in the United States.

The  Village creators have a vision of changing the way dementia patients are cared for. On their website, they explain that “Those living with dementia deserve more than just a room in a care facility. They need community, and the freedom to explore life to the best of their ability in a supportive and stimulating environment. Our village is what sets us apart, and it defines a new standard of memory care in Canada.”

Elroy Jespersen is the passionate project lead for The Village. From an early age, his background has been focused on care homes, considering his parents ran a large home for children in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Elroy worked for decades managing senior communities and one day, he realized that he wanted to help create a “memory care community”, somewhere where residents with dementia can maintain some control over their daily lives.



Photo Courtesy of DailyHive


The development team also includes Eitaro Hirota from NSDA Architects as the lead project architect, Scott Thorburn of Canbrit as the development manager, and Jeff Marin of Vanmar Constructors as the VP of construction.

At its core, the Village is a fenced-in community covering 5-acres of land, which previously housed an elementary school. Each cottage can accommodate 12 people, which means that with six cottages on the property, in total The Village can hold 72 residents (and let's not forget to mention that each cottage is also fully staffed).

Eitaro, the architect, explained that the cottages were designed to help residents find their way around The Village easily. Each cottage or building has distinct colours to make them stand out, so the cottages themselves essentially act as guideposts, which in my opinion is so clever. If you're curious to know more about the design specifics, there's a YouTube series called Village TV where the team involved in this project takes you through the process and specifics.

Photo Courtesy of The Village Langley



The cottages are meant to simulate the feeling of a normal home for residents, which I think they've successfully accomplished in doing! 

To me, these houses look like your typical neighbourhood home,  with an extra touch of both cozy and chic.



Photo Courtesy of DailyHive


The six cottages surround a Village Plaza as well as The Oakwood Community Centre, designed to be both an activity destination for residents and a place to bring people together to socialize.

The Oakwood Community Centre is a naturally lit and open space that hosts scheduled activities and events. Activities include music, dance, yoga, and more. There’s also a workshop and an art studio for the creative folks!

Outside is The Village Plaza, which offers the amenities of a real village, such as an on-site salon and spa, post office, medical clinic, as well as a general store where residents can shop.


Photo Courtesy of DailyHive



There's also plenty of outdoor activities that encourage residents to spend more time enjoying nature. Some of these include walking paths with benches, sensory gardens, outdoor activity terraces, a veggie patch, and even a barnyard with animals.

The Village creates an atmosphere that encourages family members and friends to visit the residents. The pleasant environment, nature, and the multitude of activities can be enjoyed by everyone. It also encourages socialization, which is beneficial for those suffering from dementia because it helps them feel welcomed into a community where they can feel at ‘home’.


Photo Courtesy of DailyHive



I think that The Village creates the ideal blueprint for the future of elderly care and assisted living in Canada. This type of residence would be something to help dementia patients enrich their lives rather than make them feel like they’re living in an institution – which I imagine could ifeels lonely and confusing. 

The work that Jespersen and his team has created is inspiring and I hope that more places like The Village get built across Canada so that the elderly and/or dementia patients can call a place like this “home”.


To learn more details about this community and residence, visit The Village Langley.

And guess what else! Learn more about The Village on Global News.


If you enjoyed this post, consider reading these articles focusing on innovative housing solutions for people needing support:

Atira Women’s Resource Centre In Vancouver Uses Recycled Shipping Containers For Community Housing

The Ronald McDonald House British Columbia By Michael Green Architecture

Big Plans For Calgary’s Homes For Heroes Foundation

Vancouver’s Skwachays Healing Lodge By Architect Joe Wai

Researched and Written by Kara Scerri, Graduate from York University, and Sheridan College, Ontario

Posted In: British Columbia

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