Caroline Snoeij remembers a 94-year-old man with dementia and who visits health care on her farm in the mid-Netherlands. “I come if you allow me to clean the eggs outside” for laying chickens, he said in his best bargaining tone.
Caroline and her husband IJsbrand agreed that he was unhappy. The old timer joined three other dozen people with dementia to come to the farm one day or more a week to benefit from being outdoors, active and feeling I am doing something.
Snoeijs runs a care farm, which combines agriculture with care for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, children with autism, and young and middle-aged adults with mental health or other conditions.
Care farms started rising in the Netherlands thirty years ago. The idea behind the movement was to make farms multi-purpose, to produce food but to meet the needs of healthcare, recreation, conservation and education.
The health care part of the concept also worked that the number of care farms exploded from 70 in the late 1990s to 1,400 today, said <https://www.rivm.nl/ en / abo