Last edited 09 Jul 2017

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Dementia-friendly home


Dementia care costs families around £18 billion a year and affects about 850,000 people in the UK. The figure is expected to rise to more than one million by 2025. Two-thirds of the cost of dementia is paid by those who suffer from the condition and their families. This is in contrast with other conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, for which the NHS provides care that is free at the point of use.

In May 2017, BRE and Loughborough University announced their intention to create a 'dementia-friendly' demonstration home to help learn how better to support those living with the condition. Construction will begin at the BRE Innovation Park in Autumn 2017.

A 100 sq. m Victorian house will be adapted to cater for different types, and stages, of the debilitating illness, allowing sufferers to live independently by addressing their day-to-day needs. The tailored features of the converted terraced house have been designed by BRE along with researchers from Loughborough University.

Once complete, it will give developers, care providers and families an opportunity to learn about better ways to equip a home to help people with dementia. As part of Loughborough’s ongoing research, academics will also study how the features are used with a view to further improving ways to support homeowners with dementia.

The converted building’s features will include:

  • Clear lines of sight and colour-coded paths through the home that help guide people towards each room.
  • Increased natural lighting – proven to help people stay alert during the day and to sleep better at night.
  • Noise reduction features – to lower stress.
  • Simple switches and heating controls, and safety sensors in high-risks areas such as the kitchen.

Professor Jacqui Glass, of Loughborough’s School of Civil and Building Engineering, is the University’s principal investigator on the £300,000 project. She said:

"Most people experiencing dementia wish to remain at home, so the design and construction of new dwellings or home conversions are paramount. With this project we want to show how design solutions can be to be easily integrated within most current homes and communities to improve people’s lives".

The demonstration house is based on the ‘design for dementia principals’ previously developed by Dr Rob McDonald and Bill Halsall at Liverpool John Moores University.

Director of BRE Innovation Parks Dr David Kelly said:

"Our aim here is to show how homes can be adapted to better meet the needs of dementia sufferers and delay the need for care by the state for months or even years. Currently, the average cost of state care is between £30,000 to £40,000 per annum.

"Creating environments which allow people to live independently at home for longer could save a significant amount. That money could instead be channelled into research that alleviates the condition and reduces the emotional stress to the individual".

For further information please contact Linda McKeown, BRE, email [email protected] or Judy Wing, Loughborough University, email [email protected]uk.

This article was originally published here on 16 May 2017 by BRE.

--BRE Group

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