Design for dementia

BRE reveals plans to build dementia demonstrator site to inform design best practice

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) – an organisation that carries out research, consultancy and testing for the UK construction and built environment sectors - has announced plans to build a dementia care demonstrator to inform the design of future buildings.

To be developed later this year, the facility aims to help people with dementia live independently for longer, by creating an optimal living space in which the BRE can test new supportive technologies and showcase current good and best-practice concepts, adaptations innovations and thinking.

The BRE dementia home project will provide a vision and clarity to those who require or specify dementia-friendly buildings

It will apply a design philosophy of ‘Long Life, Loose Fit’, to create a comfortable aspirational home that is sustainable, affordable and financially efficient.

It will also provide a test bed for ongoing research on dementia, buildings and technologies that impact on health, comfort, safety and dignity.

This will inform the design of future buildings to help people with dementia live independently for longer.

The design is based on research involving people with dementia and their carers and the outcome will create a platform for knowledge sharing between the healthcare system and construction industry, specifically around improving health, wellness and mental health.

In the UK there are currently 850,000 people with dementia - equivalent to the entire population of Birmingham - and this figure is predicted to increase to one million people by 2025. Most of these people are aged over 65, and two thirds of people with dementia live at home.

As people ages, their housing needs often change and some people need support to be able to continue living in their own homes.

A BRE spokesman said: “Living well with dementia is a priority for the health and social care system and for the elderly as it enables people with dementia to stay in their homes and, at the same time, it eases the impact of dementia on the NHS.

“The BRE dementia home project will provide a vision and clarity to those who require or specify dementia-friendly buildings and could lead to a significant improvement in home outcomes for people with dementia.”

Living well with dementia is a priority for the health and social care system and for the elderly as it enables people with dementia to stay in their homes and, at the same time, it eases the impact of dementia on the NHS

The demonstrator will be built at BRE’s Innovation Park in Watford. The outcomes are intended to be used by local authorities, social care providers, housing organisations, the third sector, commissioners, primary care organisations, acute care providers, care homes, and building professionals.

In order to create the best-possible home, the BRE is currently looking for partners, supporters and sponsors to provide knowledge, funding, materials and a contractor to build the facility. It is also interested in innovative products and technologies that will help to reduce building running costs and assistive technologies that help elderly people stay safe and well in their homes.

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