Over the next 10 years, the 52-year-old psychologist and social worker purchased or rented eight two-story houses where 13 Swiss and German patients now reside.
On most afternoons, the group gathers at a private, walled park to swim, snack and relax on deck chairs. Regular outside activities are organized because Woodtli believes these stimuli may help delay degeneration.
Germany’s Alzheimer Society director Sabine Jansen says that while some with Alzheimer’s may adjust to an alien place, most find it difficult because they live in a world of earlier memories.
Angela Lunde of the US-based Mayo Clinic says that generally the afflicted do better in a familiar environment, but over time, even those with advanced stages of the disease can adjust well.
Woodtli says people who have traveled widely and are accustomed to change can probably adapt.