The lives of people living with dementia in Greater Manchester, alongside carers and loved ones, can be improved through better access to housing that reflects the changing needs and diversity of the population, according to the finding of the Housing and Living Well with Dementia: from Policy to Practice in Greater Manchester report.
The report launch comes days after the government launched the White Paper detailing a wide ranging 10-year vision for Social Care with a recurring phrase:
‘Make every decision about care a decision about housing’.
This report examines the existing health, social care, and housing options available to people living with dementia - focusing on how to provide housing within community settings, and calls for all services that support people living with dementia, carers and loved ones to work more closely together.
It makes clear recommendations on how the diverse needs of housing for people living with dementia must be taken into greater consideration, and how people’s specific circumstances - such as ethnicity, age, and sexual identity - must be at the centre of future planning and developments.
These recommendations include:
- Accessible Guidance and Information: Provide independent housing information and advice in a diverse range of accessible and culturally sensitive formats.
- Integrated Pathways: Ensure housing is integral at every stage of the dementia care pathway. Ensure the support offer includes opportunities to explore housing options as well as financial and legal planning.
- Planning Ahead: Identify clear standards for housing that meets the diverse needs of people living with dementia, including those from minority communities. Identify appropriate and acceptable sites specifically for age-friendly housing.
- Market-Shaping: Recognise and respond to the growing demand for age-friendly and dementia-ready social and private rented housing, including those among ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ communities.
- Combating Stigma: Encourage a wider public conversation to understand how healthy homes for people living with dementia is central to ambitions for COVID-19 recovery and delivering for an ageing population.
- Knowledge mobilisation and implementation: Establish a community of practice and learning and information networks among practitioners and those living with dementia and their carers, emphasising an awareness of structural inequalities alongside an assets-based approach.
- Evidence-based policy and practice: Further research is needed across a number of areas including how best to improve awareness and understanding of dementia, and the implications for housing and communities.
The recommendations of the report will be used to develop a three-year plan (2022-2025) implemented through the forthcoming Greater Manchester’s Integrated Care System.