Bre And Loughborough University Build Dementia Friendly Test Home

The construction of a new ‘dementia-friendly’ home on the BRE Innovation Park will begin this autumn in order to learn how to better support those living with the condition.

The 100sqm Victorian house will be adapted to accommodate various types and stages of the debilitating illness, with the goal of allowing sufferers to live independently by addressing their day-to-day needs.

Researchers from Loughborough University and the building science centre BRE designed the tailored features of the converted terraced house.

Once completed, it will serve as a demonstration home, allowing developers, care providers, and families to learn about better ways to equip a home to help people with dementia.

Academics will also study how the features are used as part of Loughborough’s ongoing research in this area in order to improve ways to support homeowners with dementia.

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

  • Simple switches and heating controls, and safety sensors in high risks areas such as the kitchen

The project draws expertise from a number of specialisms at Loughborough, from the schools of building and engineering, design, and sport – and is based on a wealth of dementia research carried out at the university.

Professor Jacqui Glass, of Loughborough’s School of Civil and Building Engineering, is the university’s principal investigator on the £300,000 project.

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”

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The demonstration house is based on the ‘design for dementia principles’ that Dr Rob McDonald and Bill Halsall developed at Liverpool John Moores University.

Dr. David Kelly, Director of BRE Innovation Parks, stated, “Our goal here is to show how homes can be adapted to better meet the needs of dementia sufferers and delay the need for state care for months or even years.”

“At the moment, the average cost of state care is between £30,000 and £40,000 per year.” Creating environments that allow people to live independently at home for longer periods of time could result in significant savings. That money could instead be directed toward research that alleviates the condition and reduces the individual’s emotional stress.”

Dementia care costs families approximately £18 billion per year and affects approximately 850,000 people in the UK. By 2025, the figure in the UK is expected to exceed one million.

Dementia patients and their families bear two-thirds of the cost of the condition. In contrast, for other conditions such as heart disease and cancer, the NHS provides free care at the point of use.

Last Updated on December 30, 2021

Indra-Gupta

Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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