BRE to create dementia-friendly demonstration home

Designed by researchers from Loughborough University and BRE, a new ‘dementia-friendly’ home aimed at learning how better to support those living with the condition will be constructed this Autumn.

As part of the university’s ongoing research in this area, the 100sqm Victorian house will be adapted to cater for different types, and stages, of the debilitating illness, and is aimed at allowing sufferers to live independently by addressing their day-to-day needs.

The converted building’s features will include: clear lines of sight and colour-coded paths through the home that help guide people towards each specific room; increased natural lighting – proven to help people stay alert during the day and to sleep better at night; noise reduction features – to lower the chances of stress; and simple switches and heating controls, and safety sensors in high risks areas such as the kitchen.

Once complete, the building, which is expected to cost £300,000, will act as a show home and give developers, care providers and families an opportunity to learn about better ways to equip a home to help people with dementia.

Coinciding with Dementia Awareness Week, running from 14 May to 20 May, the announcement also highlighted how dementia care costs families around £18 billion a year and affects about 850,000 people in the UK, with the figure expected to rise further to more than one million in the UK by 2025.

David Kelly, director of BRE Innovation Parks, 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.”