Anchor, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care, has joined forces with the Alzheimer’s Society by signing up to its new Dementia Friendly Housing Charter.
Initiatives include identifying a network of Dementia Champions across Anchor’s housing operations, improvements in colour schemes and furnishings and incorporating specific dementia related guidance in the Design Guide for new developments.
Howard Nankivell, Anchor Housing Operations Director, said: “People are living longer and there’s been a big increase in the likelihood of people living with complex health conditions. Dementia affects 850,000 people in Britain and this figure could reach 2 million by 2050. Anchor has an excellent track record in providing dementia care and housing. Our homes are sensitively designed to make life a lot easier for someone living with dementia.
“We are really proud of signing up the Dementia Friendly Housing Charter as part of our ongoing commitment to meet the changing needs of older people and to providing a choice of great places and ways to live.”
Anchor serves more than 40,000 older people across the country, providing retirement housing to rent and to buy, retirement villages and residential care homes, including specialist dementia care, from more than 1,000 locations. It recently undertook pioneering research with the University of Worcester to understand how iPads can be used to enhance quality of life for people living with dementia in their care homes.
Additions and adaptations to help people with dementia include simple initiatives such as wet rooms, sensory lights, contrasting coloured doors and walls, open plan living and plug sockets at eye level.
The Dementia Friendly Housing Charter was launched to help ensure people affected by dementia feel understood and included in all aspects of community life. It aims to enable all professionals working in the housing sector, from planners, architects and developers to landlords, housing managers and handypersons, to embed best practice to support people living with dementia in their homes, minimise risk and enhance their wellbeing.
Jeremy Hughes, Alzheimer’s Society chief executive, said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges we face in society today, and one that all areas of the housing sector must work together in uniting against.
“The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 states that more people with dementia should live longer in their own homes when it is in their interests to do so, with a greater focus on independent living.
“This will only be achieved with greater support in people’s own homes from trained professionals and by improving the homes that people live in to ensure they are adaptable and flexible as circumstances and needs change.
“When someone is no longer able to remain in their own home we need to ensure housing providers that support them are knowledgeable and have the processes in place to enable each individual to live the life they want to and receive the best possible support.”