Dementia and housing
The quality of life for someone living with dementia is affected by where and how they live. The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 (2015) states that, by 2020 we wish to see an increased number of people with dementia being able to live longer in their own homes when it is in their interests to do so, with a greater focus on independent living.
Two-thirds of people with dementia live in the community in a range of different housing types. Most live in mainstream housing, with a third living on their own.
The British Standards Institute and the Alzheimer’s Society have developed a Code of Practice for the housing sector. It identifies key areas that will help to support people living with dementia. They include:
- adaptations, built environment, design and access to outdoor space
- assistive technologies, including telecare
- training of all staff in the housing sector
Video transcript Open
Roughly two thirds of people with dementia live in the community in a range of different housing types, many living alone.
And whilst the number of people living with dementia continues to rise, the quality of life they experience is very much affected by where they live.
The government’s aim is to see an increased number of people with dementia being able to live longer in their own homes when it is in their interests to do so, with a greater focus on independent living.
With these factors in mind, the Alzheimer’s Society has developed a charter for the housing sector which shows how housing, its design and supporting services can help to improve and maintain the welfare of people living with dementia.
The British Standards Institute together with the Alzheimer’s Society have also developed a Code of Practice for dementia-friendly communities which includes housing as a focus for action.
The document highlights key areas that will help to support people living with dementia, including:
- The built environment, adaptations of existing buildings, design and access to outdoor space
- assistive technologies, including telecare
- and the training of the workforce and staff within the housing sector
In SCIE’S Dementia and Housing resource, you will find more information, advice and pointers on each of these aspects of housing for people living with dementia.
Sometimes, simple changes made to an existing property can support the wellbeing and independence of someone with dementia, allowing them to remain in their home for longer, as well as reducing pressures on carers.
You will find information and links in this section of the resource.
Assistive technology can provide enormous benefits to people with dementia as well as their carers, improving safety, independence and wellbeing.
Housing staff have important roles to play in helping ensure people with dementia can manage their homes as well as helping create dementia-friendly communities.
Training is of course key in terms of awareness-raising, building foundations for good care - as well as the development of specific, extra skills
Examples, links and further information are provided within this section of the resource.
The resource also looks at the various types of housing suitable for people with dementia.
People with dementia can often be supported to continue to enjoy life within their own homes, living either alone or with others who may take a caring role.
Other housing options which can provide a greater level of support include sheltered housing and extra care housing.
We hope you enjoy exploring SCIE’S Dementia and Housing resource - and that you find it informative and helpful.
We look forward to receiving your feedback on the resource.
Supporting people with dementia in different types of housing
This section looks at different housing options available for people living with dementia and how people can be supported where they choose to live. It is important that people have access to information and advice to make the right choice for them at the right time.
Design, adaptation and outdoor space
Dementia-friendly design, and adaptations and improvements to the home can support the wellbeing and independence of a person living with dementia. Outdoor space should also be considered when designing the built environment.
A collection of resources which show how assistive technology can help people with dementia to live more independently at home, increasing their safety and quality of life. It covers any equipment or technology that increases a person’s safety, improves their quality of life and helps them live more independently at home.
Developing better understanding of dementia in the housing workforce and training of all staff in the housing sector appropriate to the settings in which they work and their roles.
Key documents Open
Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 – Department of Health. (2015)
Improving health through the home – Public Health England. (Updated 2017)
Although not focused on dementia, this guide describes why investing in improving the home or housing circumstances can be an effective way to improving health and wellbeing, reducing health inequalities; and preventing, delaying and reducing demand for health care and social care. To support and inform local action, links are provided to the main sources of data, evidence and guidance.
Improving health through the home: a checklist for local plans and policies – Public Health England. (2016)
The checklist suggests the questions that should be asked locally of commissioning plans to ensure that home, health and wellbeing are considered in all policies.
Improving health and care through the home: a national memorandum of understanding – Public Health England (2018)
This memorandum of understanding has been signed by over 25 government bodies and organisations in the health, social care and housing sector. It sets out a shared commitment to joint action across government, health, social care and housing sectors in England and principles for joint working for better health and wellbeing outcomes.
Dementia: independence and wellbeing: QS30 – NICE. (2013)
Includes Quality Statement 7 Design and adaptation of housing.
People with dementia live in housing that meets their specific needs. The rationale, housing can be designed or adapted in a way that helps people with dementia manage their surroundings, retain their independence, and reduce feelings of confusion and anxiety.
Code of practice for the recognition of dementia-friendly communities in England: PAS 1365: 2015 – BSI/Alzheimer’s Society (2015)
Housing is a key ‘area for action’ in the creation of a dementia-friendly community in the BSI Code of practice.
Dementia and housing: an assessment tool for local commissioning: toolkit – Housing LIN (2016)
A self-assessment tool to help local commissioners understand how to best to enable people with dementia to live well and as independently as possible, in a home of their choice. It includes self-assessment questions and links to resources.