Dementia – Independent living

Changing demographics, an ageing population, growing pressures on health and social care services, and a national housing shortage, make for an interesting mix of challenges which touch all elements of society and industry sectors. This has led to greater focus being placed on designing, refurbishing and creating dwellings which can support occupants at every stage of their lives, and through illness and changes that are part of the ageing process.

It is estimated that some 850,000 people in the UK suffer from Dementia and 70-80% of people living with dementia continue to live in their own homes rather than in any specialised form of housing. With 1 million sufferers of Dementia in the UK predicted by 2025, this is a trend which requires some careful thought in how we develop homes, communities and towns. Over the last two years there has been a national movement towards developing dementia friendly communities and cities with pilot sites across the UK attempting to make towns and cities more accessible and understandable to enable people with dementia to live more independently for longer. This is a broad concept which involves transport, housing, local amenities, shops and businesses and includes training and awareness raising.

BRE is collaborating with Loughborough University and Halsall Lloyd Partnership on the development of a ‘Dementia Home’ demonstration at the BRE Innovation Park (Watford). This dwelling will feature the design concepts developed through the research and will provide an interactive space for healthcare professionals, developers, practitioners and users to visualise design concepts and new technology. The design and operation of the demonstration dwelling will be informed by extensive research carried out by our project partners (Liverpool John Moores University, Loughborough University, and Halsall Lloyd Partnership) and will demonstrate approaches for housing adaptation for an ageing population.’