Copenhagen study tour – Day three update

The final day of my study tour in Copenhagen has been very inspiring. The day started with a visit to Johannesgarden, a private care centre in Brønshøj, where 74 people live in self contained apartments in a beautifully renovated development.

What has been noticeable in all the care centres I have visited duringl this short trip is the ample amount of space available within each of the developments, both in people’s individual apartments and the communal areas. The architect of the buildings have been designed to ensure that there are plenty of communal areas available for residents, encouraging people to socialise with other people.

Enjoying the outside space 

In keeping with the Danish way of life, emphasis on the outside space is visibly evident, with balconies and gardens often created to stimulate the senses whilst also being practical for both those who just want to sit and enjoy the fresh air and also those who like to get their hands dirty in the soil of the raised beds which are dotted around in the gardens. 92647c22-9fe2-4fcc-b29b-2e3b1896023a.jpg

Eating together in large gatherings again is traditional of the Danish culture and this is clearly encouraged throughout the development both inside and outside where large seating areas are provided, demonstrating the community spirit that is actively promoted.

Specialist dementia care

My final visit of the day was to Demenscenter Pilehuset, a specialist dementia centre also located in Brønshøj. Pilehuset has an unrivalled reputation for dementia care in Denmark and often receives international visitors eager to learn from their approach.

Having being inspired by the person centred dementia care model by Tom Kitwood of the University of Bradford, the centre has fully embraced this philosophy and adopted the approach in how it supports the 124 people living there.


Care and support is provided across five different units which are organised depending on the diagnosis of the person. The basement of the building is spectacular and has been radically transformed into a small town, consisting of a variety of shops that you would expect to find on any local high street..

Reviving the High Street

For example, there is a butchers store where residents visit every morning to pick their groceries for lunch. The traditional smorrebrod is eaten at lunch and so residents are encouraged to select what they want to accompany it from the butchers, including selecting their fruit and sweet treats.


The town setting is very creative and inspiring and unlike anything I have seen previously. It also boasts a toiletries shop, bar and cafe, travel agents, bank, museum, sweet shop, clothes store, spa and a variety of other shopping outlets which are used daily by the staff to support residents with their day-to-day living.

What I found particularly interesting was that instead of these stores being purely used as decorative with plastic food and memorabilia, they contained real produce, be it food or dry goods, and operated as genuine shores. Everything that residents needed for their daily living could be obtained from the shops on the ‘high street’, with the aim being that staff work together with residents to promote their independence and give them control in the choices they make.

I will produce a more detail report of my visit to share learning in the next few weeks.

Edna Petzen @EdnaPetzen is director and marketing consultant at Lynden Consulting, a marketing and communications company helping health and adult social care businesses develop marketing strategy, manage their brand, improve performance and achieve communication excellence. Get in touchtoday to find out how we can help.

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