Transforming care pathways for people with dementia

This briefing highlights the role housing associations can play in transforming dementia care pathways. It aims to encourage health and social care commissioners to work more closely with housing providers at a local level.

12 October 2015

At a time of budgetary restrictions and a rapidly ageing population, the need to find radically new ways of supporting people to live well in later life is becoming urgent.

  • There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, accounting for one in four of the population aged 65 and over, with prevalence increasing with age
  • The number of people living with dementia is expected to double in the next 30 years.
  • The predicted cost is £26.3bn in health, social care and informal care.

Housing associations are ideally placed to help health and social care commissioners to meet growing needs and transform care pathways for people with dementia. They can promote better integration and a personlised approach, applying the best evidence to practice and co-designing support packages with individuals to deliver better health outcomes.

There is a need to bring housing, health and social care agencies together at a local level to:

  • Invest in prevention – take active steps to reduce the risks of people developing dementia, tackle health inequalities and promote good health across the life course.
  • Shift the balance of choice and control from agencies and professionals to individuals and their families, ensuring individual preferences are understood and honoured.
  • Provide a broader range of retirement housing options and further investment in home adaptations, dementia-friendly neighbourhoods and communities.
  • Invest in workforce training and development, to better support people with dementia
  • Provide flexible service offers to support people at each stage of their condition, from initial help-seeking, living with dementia and coping with changes, to planning for the end of life.
  • Turn the best available evidence into practice with robust evaluation and effective systems, to transfer learning across different population groups and neighbourhoods at scale and pace.

No single agency or sector can deliver all of this in isolation, especially in the current economic climate. Cross–sector collaboration, co-production with service users, effective partnership working between commissioners and service providers, joint planning, and strategic investment are essential.

Our briefing, produced in partnership with HACT, shows how housing associations can act as prime contractors, or work in partnership as part of a longer supply chain or network of service delivery agencies.