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NDAA speak at the Housing - Rising to the Dementia Challenge - London

Friday 13 July 2018

NDAA speak at the Housing - Rising to the Dementia Challenge - London

Housing   Dementia Conference

The National Dementia Action Alliance were in attendance at the Housing - Rising to the Dementia Challenge - London last month with our own Campaigns and Partnership Manager, Sarah Tilsed presenting on the DAA dementia statements. The event was organised by members Housing LIN and Housing&Care21 with support from The Guinness Partnership and featured a range of speakers exploring ways that the rights and needs of people living with dementia can be better represented in the housing industry.

After a welcome from the event organisers Sarah led the first session providing a full run down of the dementia 'We' statements which were used to develop the newly devised dementia-friendly housing charter. The next session was led by Shelagh Robinson who is living with dementia and gave a frank and honest perspective of the impact that design of housing can have. Points included providing adequate storage in bathrooms and kitchens for medical and sanitary products that are required, avoiding reflective or patterned tiles because of issues this can cause with perception and ensuring mechanisms for everyday items like windows are made simple and accessible. Overall continuity is key to allow a person to live well with dementia and changes to surroundings should be considered carefully.

Following that session Gavin Terry, Policy Manager at the Alzheimer’s Society discussed Housing and the dementia 2020 challenge. Gavin highlighted the predicted need in the fight against dementia with 45,000 extra care home places required by 2020 and suggested assisted technology and telecare could be options to potentially help with this as the focus should be on improving home care options. The Government's social care green paper was mentioned (which has now been delayed until the autumn) and the Alzheimer's Society will e providing suggested amendments to that with 18 commitments having been cited around housing.

A further perspective was provided on the different cultures of people living with dementia by David Truswell from the Dementia Alliance for Culture and Ethnicity. David revealed that numbers of people living with dementia in BAME communities are predicted to increase by 7 times by 2020 while the majority white communities are only predicted to double. He highlighted differences that exist in those communities such as stigma and isolation around gaining a diagnosis and the fact that care requirements can be very different because of sensitivities relating to culture. That was followed by a presentation from Wendy Wells of The Guinness Partnership who are a dementia-friendly organisation who have been working with the Dementia-Friendly Housing Charter. Wendy described how they had dealt with reports from residents about people in their buildings displaying 'unusual behaviour' and that because this had turned out to be people living with dementia they had offerd Dementia Friends training as a result to provide more education for people. Their practice is informed by DEEP guidelines and they have been using CRM systems to flag residents who are living with dementia so their staff are aware and can provide support where needed.

The afternoon of the conference was focused on the design and architecture of buildings and innovations and principles that can be incorporated to ensure these are dementia friendly. For the most part this was concerned with care homes. These included providing adequate lighting through the use of daylight throughout buildings, simple and effective signage to assist with wayfinding and providing suitable communal areas to allow care home residents to meet others and socialise.

The presentations from the event are available to download from the Housing LIN website and can be accessed by clicking here.