Housing sector has key role to play in dementia support

New report pitches investment in physical buildings, training and research toward tailored services, and day-to-day dementia-friendly thinking.

With a million people in the UK likely to be living with dementia by 2021, a new report reinforces the role housing providers can play.

The Guinness Partnership bases the findings on its own work toward independent living in pitching investment in physical buildings, training and research toward tailored services, and allowing dementia friendly thinking to become part of a day-to-day approach.

At Guinness, such work includes:

  • Looking at interior and exterior design to create dementia-friendly environments for both specialist and generic housing.
  • Investing in a safe and secure “flagship facility”
  • A ‘flagging system’, providing improved information for staff and customers about living with dementia and identifying those whose dementia means that they require support
  • Recruiting over 1,250 Dementia Friends among Guinness staff – providing nearly 50% of employees the training they need to identify dementia warning signs

The ‘Independent Evaluation of The Guinness Partnership’s Dementia Project’ was launched at the ‘Housing – rising to the dementia challenge’ conference in Leeds this week.

Wendy Wells, Head of Policy and Business Implementation and dementia expert for The Guinness Partnership, said that as a major provider of social housing, they have already seen benefits in better tenancy and improved relationships and engagement with external agencies around dementia.

Research by the Alzheimer’s Society found 85% of people want to stay living at home for as long as possible when diagnosed with dementia.

“But a third wouldn’t know how to make their home and living environment suitable,” said Tamsin Fraser, the Society’s Head of Community Engagement.

Tom Walker, of Homes England, said the work carried out by The Guinness Partnership was fully welcomed.

“The housing sector has a vital role to play in creating a more dementia-friendly world,” he said.

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