Housing for people living with dementia must reflect their specific needs – finds new Greater Manchester report

The lives of people living with dementia in Greater Manchester, alongside carers and loved ones, can be improved through better access to housing that reflects the changing needs and diversity of the population, according to the finding of a new report published today

The report launch comes days after the government launched the White Paper detailing a wide ranging 10-year vision for Social Care with a recurring phrase, ‘Make every decision about care a decision about housing’.

Housing and Living Well with Dementia: from Policy to Practice in Greater Manchester, has been produced by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and the University of Manchester (Healthy Ageing Research Group and the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing).

The report examines the existing health, social care, and housing options available to people living with dementia – focusing on how to provide housing within community settings.

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. There are many different causes of dementia, and many different types.

In 2019, at least 21,851 Greater Manchester residents were living with dementia, 1 in 25 of this number diagnosed with younger onset dementia (people under the age of 65).

The report calls for all services that support people living with dementia, carers and loved ones to work more closely together. It makes clear recommendations on how the diverse needs of housing for people living with dementia must be taken into greater consideration, and how people’s specific circumstances – such as ethnicity, age, and sexual identity – must be at the centre of future planning and developments.

The report has been shaped by the views of people with lived experience of dementia, carers and loved ones, as well as professionals from across Greater Manchester’s housing, health and care sector that provide support to those living the condition.

“Dementia can affect anyone – and as such, people have very different needs if they are to continue to live as fulfilling a life as possible. More needs to be done to treat people as individuals, so we can make sure they can get the type of support that is right for them – including housing. This report shows how that can be achieved through making information more accessible and being more aware of the changing demographic of Greater Manchester. Warren Heppolette, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s executive lead for strategy & system development

The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is in a unique position to lead the way in addressing the challenges identified by this report, as we seek to build on the city-region’s position as the first in the UK to join the WHO Global Network of Age Friendly Cities.”

The University of Manchester is a global leader in the fields of ageing research, working to improve policy and practice through providing evidence that promotes health, wellbeing and equity in later life.  Our work to ensure the lives of those living with dementia, their loved ones and carers is critical, especially as we look towards integration of our care systems and the re-imagining of social care with the role of the home as a central tenet for enabling someone to live well and with dignity in their home for as long as they wish. Alistair Burns, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry, University of Manchester

The recommendations of the report will be used to develop a three-year plan (2022-2025) implemented through the forthcoming Greater Manchester’s Integrated Care System.

To find out more about Dementia United’s Healthy Homes programme and access the Housing and Living Well with Dementia: from Policy to Practice in Greater Manchester report please visit dementia-united.org.uk/housing/