Supporting people living with dementia in extra care housing

Teresa Atkinson In progress  

Introduction

Extra Care Housing is an increasingly popular form of housing for older people, often as a preferred alternative to a care home. Many people appreciate the independence that having their own apartment within an Extra Care Housing Scheme can offer, while also being able to access help and support, enjoying opportunities for social interaction and feeling safe. Over a fifth of those living in Extra Care Housing are living with dementia, a number that is likely to increase as the number of people living with dementia continues to grow and people are being diagnosed at a younger age.

Three different approaches have often been taken to supporting people living with dementia in Extra Care Housing: some schemes have a separate area or unit for people living with dementia, others take an integrated approach by supporting people living with dementia alongside residents without dementia, and a third type of scheme are exclusively for people living with dementia.

Previous studies have highlighted some key features of Extra Care Housing that can help people living with dementia including dementia-friendly design, having flexible care available, good use of technology, and lots of opportunities for social activities. However, everyone has a different experience of dementia and little is known about what works for whom.

Objectives

This study is exploring how Extra Care Housing can help people to live well with dementia and investigating the advantages and disadvantages of the three different models described above.

Methods

The study will start by looking at what is already known about Extra Care Housing for people living with dementia. This will be followed by a series of surveys giving people with/without dementia, their family members and people who provide and fund extra care, the opportunity to share their experiences and opinions.

The research team will then identify nine Extra Care Housing schemes where they can talk with residents with and without dementia, family carers and scheme staff, as well as managers from adult social care who fund Extra Care Housing. Through these conversations they hope to learn what it is about different types of Extra Care Housing that helps people with dementia to live well.

Resources

Project website (external website)