Our work with dementia
In November 2017, we launched ourselves as a dementia-friendly organisation.
As part of this work, we created a short video to illustrate how our people, places and processes can all play a part in becoming dementia-friendly.
We started this journey back in March 2017, when we sent a survey to all of our Court Managers. We asked several questions including the incidence of dementia in our courts, the extent to which the physical design of our properties support people living with dementia and their ability to signpost residents to appropriate services.
Results showed that around 11% of residents in our Retirement Housing properties and 24% in Extra Care have either a diagnosis of dementia or a suspected cognitive impairment.
We have a steering group with representatives from across the organisation to ensure that we continue to challenge ourselves to embed dementia-friendly design and services throughout the organisation
For us, working towards becoming dementia-friendly means:
- Sharing knowledge to improve the lives of people affected by dementia
- Educating and informing staff to help them understand and respond appropriately to people with dementia
- Embedding good practice around dementia on a day to day basis
Housing 21 worked with the Alzheimer’s Society in 2016 to co-author the dementia-friendly housing charter which was a key deliverable of the Prime Ministers Challenge on Dementia 2020.
The overall aim of the charter is to highlight the positive role which housing can play in helping people with dementia live well. Its purpose is to inform housing professionals on how housing, its design and supporting services can help improve and maintain the wellbeing of people affected by dementia. Across every part of the housing sector, organisations can make a valuable contribution to supporting people with living with dementia.
To coincide with the launch of the charter, we decided to critically look at our service offer and identify areas where we as an organisation can take steps to improve. This resulted in an action plan which informs our work around dementia.
Some examples of the work which we are doing includes:
- The Dementia Friends initiative is strongly promoted within the organisation with all staff becoming Dementia Friends at their induction.
- Residents and contractors are encouraged to become Dementia Friends
- Staff are provided with additional training around dementia
- Our building and interior design guides adopt good practice to make our properties dementia-friendly and we audit ourselves on this
- All policies and training materials are reviewed to ensure that they comply with our intention of being dementia-friendly
External work around dementia
Housing 21 chairs the Housing and Dementia Working Group which brings together a range of organisations and networks to influence policy around dementia.
We are core members of the:
- Housing and Dementia Research Consortium
- National Dementia Action Alliance
- Pan London Housing and Dementia Group
Housing 21 has held two events in partnership with the Guinness Partnership, Housing LIN, Notting Hill Genesis and the Northern Housing Consortium. The events, Housing - rising to the dementia challenge, were aimed at general needs providers to show them how small changes to their housing offer could have a positive impact on their residents living with dementia.
Dementia-friendly housing charter
This charter was developed by Housing 21 in partnership with the Alzheimer's Society.
Its purpose is to inform housing professionals on how housing, its design and supporting services can help improve and maintain the wellbeing of people affected by dementia.
People with dementia face a range of challenges. These may include memory loss or difficulty communicating, mobility and navigation issues and other associated problems. Across every part of the housing sector, organisations can make a valuable contribution to supporting people with dementia facing these challenges.
This dementia-friendly housing charter seeks to make the housing sector including housing organisations, corporate bodies and sector professionals aware of the challenges of living with dementia so that it can improve home environments for people with the condition.
The charter is aimed at the full range of professionals working in the housing sector, from planners and architects to landlords and developers, housing managers and handypersons. It is designed to help all professionals support people living with dementia in their homes and facilitate consistency and good practice.
Organisations are encouraged to improve existing action plans or develop new ones in order to future-proof their organisations and services, and sign up to deliver a number of the commitment statements within the charter.
Dementia-friendly housing charter
The purpose of the Dementia-friendly housing charter is to show housing organisations, corporate bodies and sector professionals how housing, its design and supporting services can help improve and maintain the wellbeing of people affected by dementia.PDF 4.0MB
Walking with purpose report
We commissioned and funded a study by the University of Worcester, "Walking with purpose in Extra Care, Retirement and Domestic Housing"; you can download a copy of the final report here.PDF 1.6MB