People living with dementia should be supported to live independently in their own homes for as long as they are comfortable and safe to do so. Often, this will require considering adapting accommodation or exploring housing options as well as social care support to preserve independent living for as long as possible. – Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 (2015)
It is apparent that home means not just the physical place – the house or flat, garden, street and local neighbourhood – but also the people: partners, spouses, family, friends and neighbours. It is where people feel safe and secure, surrounded by familiar belongings or people. – Life Story Network
The homes people living with dementia and their carers live in, for better or worse, have an enormous impact on quality of life. Unfortunately, sometimes choices are limited and many people live in homes which are completely inappropriate to care for someone with dementia.
This lack of choice and rising demand can lead to people having to choose between living at home – independent but in a house which could be increasingly unsuitable to cater for their needs – or a care home. Our ambition is to reduce, avoid or delay avoidable admissions (whether to care/nursing homes or hospitals), for as long as possible, and to maximise personalisation in every setting, including care homes. Adaptions are important to this, as is developing new housing models. Tying all these aspects together are three workstreams – communication, training, and commissioning.
- We’re making resources more readily available to people living with dementia and their carers around housing
- Taking a rights-based, person centred approach, people with dementia are centre stage in conversations around their housing. We need a more proactive approach to encouraging wider conversations around dementia and housing. The issue needs to be demystified and destigmatised – these are critical and important conversations to have.
- ‘The big conversation’ around housing, financial headaches and wrap around support are vital elements to promote a more positive conversation. Life Story Network has developed helpful resources to support conversations around this critical subject.
- The housing sector have opportunities to support people affected by their mental health to live happier, healthier and more independent lives. Not only specialist supported housing providers – other landlords have residents or customers may be living with dementia and may require additional support, for example in managing financial concerns, or staying socially and physically active.
- Dementia United’s experience and knowledge is being utilised to develop a training package for the housing sector to support more person-centred approaches to tenants and homeowners living with dementia.
- The current crisis has further strengthened the argument for a radical shift in our approach to supported housing markets in Greater Manchester Given the rising demand and need for a more nuanced market focused on people living with dementia and their carers, we need to outline what this new model should look like.
- Dementia United aims to feed directly into this market shaping work. We have several strengths in this respect, from our clinical leads, the Dementia Carers Expert Reference Group, and many other team members and stakeholders with relevant knowledge and experience.