'Dementia charter can help us to change so many lives'
Bruce Moore, the chief executive of Housing & Care 21, says the launch of a new dementia-friendly housing charter gives the sector the chance to make a commitment which will improve the lives of people living with dementia now and into the future.
We all know the importance of housing in achieving wellbeing. This applies at all ages, but is especially true for older people.
Ensuring that everyone has access to suitable housing is an essential prerequisite for a society where people are happy, healthy and can fulfil their potential.
Unfortunately this basic understanding is too often overlooked or forgotten when the pressures on health and care require ever-increasing flows of funding to keep them running.
If health funding is represented by a hot tap and care funding by a cold tap then you still need housing to act as a sink to make sure that these services can be mixed and contained. Otherwise, they will pour straight down the plughole and have no beneficial effect.
Nowhere is the need for a safe and satisfying place to live more evident than with respect to dementia. A key message of Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative is that it is possible to live well with dementia - but this presupposes that someone has an appropriate place they can call home.
This is why the Dementia Friendly Housing Charter, launched at the end of March, is so important.
There are already dementia charters for banking, technology, retail and many of other services and sectors. With housing being so vital to wellbeing, the Dementia Friendly Housing Charter plays a particularly important and central role in improving the potential for people living with the condition to live well.
The charter was produced as a collaborative effort involving input from private developers, architects, planners, advice agencies, academics, service providers, local councils and both specialist and general housing associations. This breadth of engagement reflects the spectrum of perspectives and organisations in the sphere of housing for which the charter will have relevance.
It suggests ways in which the people, places and processes in the housing sector can make a positive impact on the lives of people living with dementia. It is also a valuable source of information and guidance on where to find further help or information.
But perhaps most important of all, it asks everyone involved in housing to sign up and agree to champion the commitments it sets out. This gives everyone the opportunity to play their part in making housing a truly dementia friendly sector. Together, we really can make a positive impact on so many people’s lives.
I hope this plug will encourage many people and organisations to take the plunge by signing up to the charter to become dementia friendly and not let this opportunity slip away down the drain.
Bruce Moore is chief executive of Housing & Care 21.