WITH over 90,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in Scotland and the number set to double in a generation, a new demonstration house in the award-winning BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig has been launched, which could make home life easier for those living with the condition.
Coinciding with Scottish Dementia Awareness Week (30 May-5 June) and in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland, BRE has unveiled the Dementia Friendly House which highlights how adjustments to traditional properties could make living at home safer for the increasing number in the Scottish population who are being diagnosed with the condition annually.
Representatives from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) as well as research academics from the Universities of Stirling and the West of Scotland (UWS) highlighted various innovations including the latest ‘assistive technology’ devices which reduce risk and help with tasks and activities in the home.
Gillian Barclay, head of Dementia Policy at the Scottish Government joined Alex Rowley, Deputy Scottish Labour leader, in officially unveiling the innovations which represent the Dementia Friendly House.
The day also acted as a launchpad for a series of forthcoming Dementia Friendly Living events at BRE Innovation Park, which will offer ongoing support and advice to the families and carers of those affected by dementia.
Dr David Kelly, group director, BRE Innovation Park Networks, notes: “At the BRE Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig, we are continually looking for innovative design, technologies and systems which will inform the future of our built environment.
“With housing as a cornerstone of our communities, it is imperative that we continually look for innovative solutions that allow people to age well within their homes.
“An ageing population, housing shortage and increasing pressures on public sector services, means the provision of comfortable, safe and accessible housing for all is critical to the social fabric of Scotland, and across the UK.
“We are delighted to be working with our partners on the Dementia Friendly Home project, and they bring a wealth of experience to this particular initiative. By working together and engaging with a broad spectrum of society, we can identify solutions that can allow people to enjoy a safer and more secure homelife.”
Joyce Gray, deputy director of development, Alzheimer Scotland, comments: “We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with BRE and our Dementia Circle to advise on dementia-friendly designs for people’s homes.
“The demonstration home is a fantastic resource which will help inform house builders today and the future. The dementia-friendly design which we are showcasing today is really the first step towards creating living environments which support the needs of those living with dementia, keeping them safe and giving them the ability to live longer at home.
“The home also features a range of domestic products tested by people living with dementia. With over 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland and the number on the rise, we’re delighted that the housing sector is starting to take the issue seriously.
“People with dementia want to stay included within their communities and live in their own homes for as long as possible. The more we can do to make interior and exterior spaces dementia friendly, the better. We hope to continue our work with the housing sector going forward.”
George Baggley, watch manager – prevention and protection with SFRS, commented: “We are involved with initiatives across Scotland offering assistance to those living with dementia, as well as the wider group of older people. It is important people living with dementia are offered maximum protection from fire and SFRS are able to provide safety advice, fit smoke alarms, and direct individuals and families to other agencies who can assist with dementia related issues.
“Over three-quarters of people in Scotland know somebody who is living with dementia and we often rely on these people to get in contact for our help in the first instance. We want to make sure that anyone who is living with dementia receives a free Home Fire Safety Visit from SFRS. But we need the community’s help. If you know someone who is living with dementia, I urge you to contact us. “
Margaret Brown, from UWS, adds: “The Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at University of the West of Scotland are delighted to contribute to the Home Refurbishment Event. Learning from, and listening to, people affected by dementia are an essential part of implementing appropriate design and technology. At UWS this is integral to our work; we know that small changes can make a big difference.’’
Families and carers interested in viewing the home and/or attending the Dementia Friendly Living Events should contact Jackie Reilly at BRE Innovation Park on 01698 262193
Image shows BRE’s Dr David Kelly(far left) and Deputy Labour leader Alex Rowley with representatives from SFRS, UWS and Alzheimer Scotland.
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