Housing for people with dementia – are we ready?

Cover APPG HCOP Dementia

This Inquiry report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, jointly written by the Housing LIN's co-dementia lead, Katey Twyford, and the Housing LIN’s CEO Jeremy Porteus, pulls together the evidence presented to the Inquiry's expert Panel, the research and analysis undertaken to understand the housing implications of people living with dementia and makes over 40 key policy and practice recommendations for dementia-readiness.

The 10 month Inquiry, sponsored by the Anchor Hanover Group, held 4 virtual Inquiry Sessions between May and December 2020 due to the pandemic, interviewed 14 "witnesses" including people with dementia, carers organisations and those working in the NHS, designing or providing housing and/or commissioning adult social care services.

It also received a selection of written submissions from academics, trade and professional bodies and provider organisations to help Panel members build a picture of the lived experiences of people with dementia and the impact of their housing circumstances pre-Covid and during lockdown.

The Inquiry report makes a number of important findings for future improvements to the way we design dementia-ready new housing, retrofit our existing stock and make best use of technology, aids and equipment. It also includes useful infographic and updates the original 10 HAPPI design principles to ensure that they are dementia-friendly.

The Inquiry found 20 overarching issues and makes over 40 recommendations. They include:

  • strategic policy and investment recommendations to central and local government and other key players  to ensure dementia-readiness,
  • practical guidance and stimulates interest for housing providers with an interest in older people to take urgent action to become dementia-ready, and
  • reframing the 10 original HAPPI design principles so that they are now dementia-proofed.

Lord Best, co-chair of the APPG Inquiry said:

There are no vaccines for dementia. There is currently no cure, and in most cases the condition worsens over time. But getting the housing right can make a huge difference for those living with dementia and their carers.

Our Inquiry shows how ‘right-sizing’ or adapting the home can avoid or postpone a move into residential care, saving places there for others who really need them.

Our recommendations challenge politicians and practitioners but also ourselves to get ready for a future when, despite increasing numbers, everyone with dementia can have a fulfilling life.”

Jeremy Porteus, Secretariat to the Inquiry and co-author of the report added:

“It‘s over a decade since the publication of the first HAPPI report. At that time it highlighted the need for ‘care ready’ design for housing our ageing population.

However, this Inquiry has gone much further and completely reframed the original 10 principles to incorporate for dementia-readiness. Good design is good dementia design. So let’s not wait another ten years, let’s adopt HAPPI now.”