Housing for people with dementia - are we ready?

Guinness Care News Article - 3 March 2021
Housing for people with dementia - are we ready?

A report from an Inquiry by the APPG on Housing and Care for Older People, February 2021.

 

One in 14 of us aged over 65, and one in 6 of us aged over 80, will find ourselves living with dementia. There is currently no cure, and in most cases the condition worsens over time[1].

“Housing - where we live, where we spend nearly all our time - is a critical element in addressing this predicament. ‘Every care decision is a housing decision’, as one of our expert witnesses told us. Get the housing right and life with dementia can be eased.” 

- Lord Best OBE Co-chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Housing and Care for Older People organises an Inquiry every two years, championing how to plan, design and deliver better accommodation for an ageing population.

This latest Inquiry has focussed specifically on how housing enables people with dementia to live independently.

 

What is in the report?

There are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. This is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. Two thirds of these are not living in residential care but in their own accommodation, so this report considers the policies and practices that can enhance independence and quality of life[2].

“We must take action to enable people affected by dementia to access the best advice and support to adapt their environment to live as well as possible or identify accommodation and services that better meet their specific needs. With prevalence of dementia on the rise in the UK, this can be done now if we all adopt a dementia inclusive approach”.

- Housing LIN APPG Inquiry Report

In May 2020, a 10-month Inquiry was launched to investigate the design and development of new homes, changes and adaptations to existing properties, ongoing input of care and support, and consideration of innovations in technological support. The resultant report, ‘Housing for people with dementia – are we ready?’ was launched on 17 February 2021, jointly written by the Housing LIN's dementia lead, Katey Twyford, and the Housing LIN’s CEO Jeremy Porteus.

We are pleased to have been cited in this report, offering our ground-level expertise and helping members build a picture of the lived experiences of people with dementia, and the impact of their housing circumstances. You can read our pledge to becoming a Dementia-Friendly organisation here.

The report highlights 20 overarching issues and makes 40+ recommendations, including:

  • Making strategic policy and investment recommendations to central and local government and other key players on dementia-readiness.
     
  • Providing practical guidance and stimulating interest for housing providers with an interest in older people to urgently become dementia-ready.
     
  • Reframing the 10 original HAPPI design principles so that they are now dementia-proofed.
     
  • Stating that, in their plans, local authorities should also take account of and act on the demand and need for housing for people living with dementia among BAME and LGBT communities in their locality.
     
  • Recommending practitioners sign up to a dedicated learning and information network to receive and share best practice on housing and dementia.

 

Guinness Care’s pledge to become ‘Dementia-Friendly’

“Through our Housing and Dementia Project, we focused on raising awareness about dementia both internally and externally, and continue to place ourselves at the forefront of dementia planning as part of the Dementia Housing Working Group, particularly encouraging and supporting other providers to follow our lead.”

- Wendy Wells, The Guinness Partnership

There are currently more than 1,000 customers living with dementia in our homes or receiving our care services. At Guinness Care, we are passionate about making a real difference to their lives and helping them to keep their independence.

Our work to be Dementia-Friendly is now ‘business as usual’, and in 2021 we are continuing our focus on raising awareness and shaping a better future for our customers and communities. Visit our dedicated Dementia Support page here to find out what practical steps we have taken over the past 6 years to become Dementia-Friendly.

 

You can download and read the full APPG report here.



[1] APPG Housing Inquiry Report, 2021

[2] APPG Housing Inquiry Report, 2021

 

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