World leading building science centre BRE is publishing a children’s book to explain the effects of dementia to young relatives of those with the condition. Coinciding with Dementia Action Week (20 – 26th May), “A Home to Remember” follows the story of a young boy and his grandmother, and the adaptations the family is making to her property to make her feel more comfortable. The book is based on a dementia-friendly home called ‘Chris and Sally’s House’, which was converted and opened last year by BRE at its Innovation Park in Watford. The book will be sent to schools local to BRE and is also available to read online here.
The book, which has been illustrated by Sarah McMenemy, explores how dementia can impact elderly relatives from the perspective of a young child. Serving an educational purpose, the book explains the changes being made to the grandmother’s property, all of which are implemented in ‘Chris and Sally’s House’. The adaptations have been shown to support the wellbeing of people with dementia. Primarily, the book highlights the importance of increased natural lighting, walking support to encourage activity and creating good lines of sight around the property to assist in navigation.
‘Chris and Sally’s House’ was opened in 2018 and is aimed at helping educate housebuilders, carers, healthcare professionals and relatives on how to better support those living with dementia. The design is geared to help people with dementia remain at home for longer than in a normal home, thus dramatically improving quality of life and reducing the cost of care to the state and relatives.
Dementia care costs families around £18 billion a year and affects about 850,000 people in the UK. The figure is expected to rise to more than one million in the UK by 2025, and two million by 2051. Two-thirds of the cost of dementia is paid by those who suffer from the condition and their families. This is in contrast to other conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, where the NHS provides care that is free at the point of use.
The two storey, 100sqm Victorian house caters for different types and stages of dementia, and is aimed at allowing those affected by dementia to live independently by addressing their day-to-day needs. The upper floor of the home has been adapted for the more advanced stages of dementia. The building design has been developed around the needs of two specific personas (or avatars), Chris and Sally. The design narrative describes how the features of the building have been adapted to support Chris and Sally as they remain in their home. The prototype is supported by short films, created by Loughborough University, detailing how dementia affects Chris and Sally on a good, average and bad day, with different actors re-creating the different stages of dementia.
The dementia-friendly converted terrace house includes:
The Dementia Home project has been designed by HLP Architects, and is based on the ‘design for dementia principals’ previously developed by Dr Rob McDonald (Liverpool John Moores University) and Bill Halsall (HLP Architects). Moving forward, the home will also be used to assist Loughborough University’s ongoing research into how the features are used, with a view to further improving ways to support homeowners with dementia. BRE has partnered with a variety of other companies to create the home.
Director of BRE Innovation Parks, Dr. David Kelly comments, “We hope that this book will be a helpful resource to schools and families who often struggle to explain the impact of dementia to young children, and in particular how that might affect their ageing relatives.
“Chris and Sally’s House is open year-round to members of the public who would like to further explore the adaptations which can be found in the book.”
Dementia Home partners:
Extra Care Charitable Trust: https://www.extracare.org.uk/
HLP Architects: www.hlparchitects.co.uk
Ideal Standard: https://www.ideal-standard.co.uk/home.html
John Lewis: www.johnlewis.com
Liverpool John Moores University: www.ljmu.ac.uk
Loughborough University: www.lboro.ac.uk
Symphony Group: https://www.symphony-group.co.uk/
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