Enschede gets the premiere with a pedestrian crossing that is dementia-friendly. Today, construction workers have begun the construction of the unique crossing at one of the busiest roads in Enschede, the Broekheurne-Ring. The crossing point is raised, better lit and recognizable colors are added to the route, which serve as a memory aid for people with dementia so that they can find their way back home.
Every day, dozens of residents of the De Posten care center in Enschede walk, walk and drive with a walker or scooter to the Enschede-Zuid shopping center. For a daily message or just to be out and about. They only have to cross the busy Broekheurne-Ring for that. And that’s what everyone is paying attention to, let alone people who are weak-legged or demented.
Brenda van Hardenveld is case manager dementia at care center De Posten. At the crossing point where the cars are still sleeping, she lays it out. “Look, for example, at this high pavement, or that dark surface on the road. Seeing depth is sometimes difficult for the elderly, or estimating how fast a car drives. Not just for the elderly with dementia.” And it is important that people with dementia also continue to take the walk, according to Brenda’s colleague Ank Braspenning from De Posten: “As long as possible and as self-satisfied as possible, people want that.”
But what makes the new crossing point so much more enjoyable for people with dementia? “The whole route of the care center is being tackled. For example, there is a recognizable blue line and brightly colored benches with arrows on them towards De Posten and towards the shopping center. That should give people memory aids, that they think ‘oh yes, I have to go this way’ The crossing point and the zebra crossing are also increased.
National disease in 2040
The dementia-friendly crossing is not an unnecessary luxury, says Brenda. “In 2040, 1 in 3 women will get dementia. And 1 in 7 men. That means there’s always someone in your immediate area who gets it, just think about it.” Van Hardenveld is working with her colleagues to make the vicinity of the care center De Posten in Enschede dementia-friendly.
Ank Braspenning explains that shopkeepers and neighborhood residents have previously received training in how to deal with dementia. A tour of the neighborhood was also conducted with residents, where the crossing point was considered a hotspot. For the Wesselerbrink district council, there was no doubt that they would also help financially, according to Agnes van Baal. “This is good for everyone, it’s a very difficult road to cross, the road is really a race track.”
Do not honk
There will also be signs at the crossing point that say ‘Beware! Elderly people cross over. ‘ Brenda hopes that this will also make managers aware of what is needed to give everyone space. “That they are not going to press the bell right away, but just have a little patience.”
The plant has therefore started today, it is expected that the crossing point can be taken into use in December. Until then, it is just as difficult, because due to the work, it is temporarily even more complicated to cross the busy Broekheurne-Ring. For the crossing point, the initiators have won a prize from the ANWB, as a result of which extra money has been released.