Heidi Wang is shifting social responses to dementia so that the person with the diagnosis is the focal point for care. Heidi’s system of support positions diagnosis as an opportunity, not an ending.
THE NEW IDEA
Heidi is building a new resource in society for people with dementia that combines an emphasis on early diagnosis and prevention, focusing on what remains rather than what they have lost. She has designed a hand-tailored treatment program that draws on a person’s life-long qualities to place them at the center of care. Heidi’s organization, NOEN, has created a caregiving population equipped with skills to increase the quality of life.
Heidi is adding a private layer to the state system and shifting away from end-stage damage control to a focus on health outcomes, quality of life, and early action. Heidi provides a subscription service to allow dementia sufferers, their families, and municipalities to have regular physical activity, classes, and other supports that are designed around the personality, dreams, and possibilities of the person—the opposite of symptoms. Heidi is remodeling existing societal structures to include revitalizing options provided in an accessible way for people with dementia as well as for their families. Her programs are designed around preventing, or slowing, further deterioration, and allow sufferers to remain at home for years longer—saving the health system millions. She utilizes a phone app system to gather data on each participant and assess progress, creating a wealth of information to guide treatment nationally.
NOEN currently delivers assistance and coaching to people in three municipalities all over Norway, working with a non-dividend franchise business model. Heidi also works actively to hire people who have previously been outside the labor market, adding another social dimension to her work.