This autumn will see the commencement of the ‘dementia-friendly’ home on the BRE Innovation Park in Watford. The objective of the development is to study how to improve the support for those living with the ailment.
The custom-made features of the transformed terraced community have been planned by researchers from Loughborough University and BRE.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, UK has around 850,000 people with dementia, and the numbers are set to grow over one million by 2025 and to two million by 2051.
BRE’s 100 m2 Victorian house will be modified to provide for different types, and stages, of the debilitating illness, and is intended at permitting sufferers to live self-sufficiently by looking after their daily requirements.
Once complete, it will be a home where the developers, care providers and families have an opportunity to learn about better ways to equip a home to help people with dementia.
Loughborough University academics will also learn in what way the features can be used to further improve ways to support homeowners with dementia.
The converted building’s features will include:
- Clear guidelines of sight and colour-coded paths due to which the home can guide people to each specific room.
- Increased natural lighting – which helps people to stay alert during the day and to sleep better at night.
- Noise reduction features – to lower the chances of stress.
- Simple switches and heating controls, along with safety sensors in high risks areas such as the kitchen.
Loughborough’s School of Civil & Building Engineering’s, Professor Jacqui Glass, is the university’s primary investigator on this project which is estimated about £300,000. She said: “Most people experiencing dementia wish to remain at home, so the design and construction of new dwellings or home conversions are paramount. With this project we want to show how design solutions can be to be easily integrated within most current homes and communities to improve people’s lives.”
The demonstration house is based on the ‘design for dementia principals’ previously developed by Dr Rob McDonald and Bill Halsall at Liverpool John Moores University.
Director of BRE Innovation Parks Dr David Kelly said: “Our aim here is to show how homes can be adapted to better meet the needs of dementia sufferers and delay the need for care by the state for months or even years. Currently, the average cost of state care is between £30,000 to £40,000 per annum. Creating environments which allow people to live independently at home for longer could save a significant amount. That money could instead be channelled into research that alleviates the condition and reduces the emotional stress to the individual.”