A ground-breaking report published by the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) into the role housing plays in supporting people affected by dementia is being welcomed at a Scottish Parliament reception this evening.

The report, funded by the Life Changes Trust and produced in collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland, BRE Group and Angus Care and Repair, has found that housing is a key consideration to living well with dementia, but is underdeveloped within the current integration agenda for health and social care.

75% of people in Scotland with dementia are living in the community. However, the research reveals there is very little housing for people with dementia and a lack of suitable accommodation appropriate to their diverse needs. The report also suggests that a clearer understanding is needed about the experiences of people living with dementia in order to enable them to stay at home safely and for as long as they can.

While the report points to some examples of good practice in housing and dementia in Scotland, they are not being developed or more widely implemented. Moreover, planning and building regulations currently do not support development of housing and services to meet the needs of Scotland’s ageing population, and in particular dementia.

The report recommends that design principles for dementia should be part of planning for all new builds and that more knowledge is available about how to adapt and maintain older properties to support a person with dementia in their current home. It also recommends that housing and dementia are aligned within policy discussions and decisions.

The report calls for the creation of an online resource to act as a ‘one stop shop’ for people with dementia, their carers, families and housing, health and social care professionals. The online tool would give them access to a wide range of information including general housing advice, support and funding.

Dr Margaret Brown, Senior Lecturer, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, UWS and lead author of the report, said: “We are very much looking forward to sharing our findings in relation to the role housing plays on those living with dementia in Scotland. This kind of evidence-informed report is a major part of what the ASCPP focuses upon and we work hard to influence policy and practice-based solutions for those living with dementia. We hope everyone attending finds the session informative and policy makers and health, social care and housing practitioners come away with some thoughtful recommendations for best practice.”

Anna Buchanan, Interim CEO and Programme Director at Life Changes Trust, said: “People living with dementia and their carers are emphatic about the importance of being able to live in their own home for as long and as independently as possible. In order to do this people need the correct support at the right time, which is sooner rather than later. When help is provided at an early stage, people can remain in their own homes for longer which is better for them and for the public purse. This report highlights priority areas for attention so that people affected by dementia are better informed about their housing options and are able to take decisions and plan for their future.”

The evening event plans to bring together a wide range of people, including MSPs and housing organisation stakeholders, to reflect on the findings of the research.