What is the role of the home and support services in improving quality of life for people with dementia?
In less than a decade, the number of people with dementia will reach one million. The Alzheimer’ Society has demonstrated that the cost to the country of the condition is £23bn. There is a growing commitment to understanding the impact of dementia across a range of services to make better offers of support to help people live independently.
Making homes, villages and cities more dementia-friendly is a growing priority across the sectors. Our report Dementia: finding housing solutions shows the central role housing associations can and do play in developing effective new solutions.
In 2009 the Department of Health published Living well with dementia, the national dementia strategy which aims to raise awareness, improve care and encourage early diagnosis. In March 2012 the Prime Minister published his challenge on dementia to stimulate work in these areas and a progress report, and annual report, highlight the role housing associations play. In March 2015 the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the challenge on dementia up to 2020.
The Dementia and Housing working group
The ‘Dementia and Housing working group’ was set up by the National Housing Federation and the Department for Communities and Local Government to:
- Improve the integration of housing in health and social care policy on the issue of dementia
- Raise the profile of housing with central and local government and among key dementia stakeholders, highlighting good practice in the housing, care and support sector in meeting the needs of people living with dementia
- Provide a platform to promote innovation and research from other organisations on housing and dementia
The working group has identified 4 key areas for their next work plan:
- Understanding and demonstrating the contribution of housing organisations to Dementia Friendly Communities
- Supporting the development of skills in the housing workforce to support people to live with dementia
- Collaborating with partners to improve the research and evidence base on housing’s contribution to helping people live well with dementia
- Supporting housing organisations to understand and respond to changes to Deprivation of Liberty thresholds and safeguards - we recently published a legal briefing on Deprivation of Liberty in housing settings working with the Housing LIN and Joanna Burton of Clarke Willmott LLP.
Further information and resources
The National Housing Federation is also part of the Dementia Action Alliance, where we work alongside partners including the Department of Health, championing the work of our members in delivering the commitments in the alliance’s dementia declaration.
- If you looking for an introduction to dementia and to how citizens and community services can respond, consider becoming a Dementia Friend
- To think through the training and skills needs of your staff team to make effective organisational response to dementia read Making A Start: Skilling the general needs housing workforce
- The Housing LIN dementia webpage also provides a variety of resources for housing associations