The Dementia-friendly
Housing Charter

04 July 2017

During Dementia Awareness Week, we published the first in a series of articles that shows how Guinness is helping to meet the commitments outlined in the new Dementia-Friendly Housing Charter.

Older man smiling sitting on his sofa.We recently started looking at our commitments to navigation and setting. This focuses on the adaptation of environments to make them dementia-friendly, and using wayfinding techniques to help people living with dementia who otherwise may become lost.

Identifying individual strategies

Where we’ve identified customers living with dementia or exhibiting the signs of dementia, we’ve worked with them (and their carers or families) to put together a personalised plan to address their needs. This helps them remain in their home for as long as possible, and minimises any confusion.

We know that everyone is unique, meaning that each solution (and plan) will be different, but by trialling different innovations we are in the best position to offer or suggest to the customer, something that should work for them. These have included:

  • Additional signage to provide direction
  • Use of Assistive Technology (such as wandering alarms)
  • Trials of GPS devices
  • More subtle techniques such as the use of artwork and colour

Creating dementia-friendly environments

We’ve also developed a Dementia-Friendly Environment Guide to ensure that dementia design is considered in all planned works and new developments. This includes the recent refurbishment of the Jubilee Centre in Waterlooville, the upcoming Quayside development in Totnes and many others.

The guide includes advice for designing interior areas, such as receptions and flooring, and exterior areas, such as paths and gardens – and a number of useful checklists.

Using artwork and colour to aid navigation

Some of our schemes are already seeing the benefit of using colour and artwork as a wayfinding tool for customers living with dementia.

In Douro Court, one of our Extra Care schemes in Ivybridge, residents had been experiencing confusion and had trouble finding their way back to their flats unaided. Guinness Housing Officer, Lucy China, initiated a project to install 32 unique pieces of artwork and colour code walls and carpets in different areas to see if this could help.

It was a small, inexpensive change but has already enabled at least three residents to remain in their homes without any distress or disorientation. The residents have also commented on how it has improved the feel of the scheme and made it feel more personal and homely to them.

This is just one of many examples of how we’ve been working to ensure that our buildings are more dementia friendly, allowing our customers to live well for longer at home with dementia.