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Seeing a change in dementia services
When first writing Foundations’ Of More than Marginal Interest Report in 2020, with findings published in February 2021, I found that of the 279 published housing assistance policies, only 80 noted dementia as a specific condition within their policy. Of these 80, the number of housing assistance policies which go beyond a mere mention; having a specific grant for dementia or including it within Disabled Facilities Grant funding was 41.
This report sat under the recommendations from Lord Best’s APPG Inquiry report, which ultimately encourages leaders and practitioners in housing to actively move towards being dementia-ready.
A review conducted on 24/06/2022 of the housing assistance policies has revealed this number to have shifted notably; suggesting that local authorities are responding to becoming dementia ready.
To put numbers to this, there are now 73 local authorities which have a specific grant for dementia or are including it in Disabled Facilities Grant funding meaning that this figure has almost doubled. Moreover, more local authorities are not just including dementia within their provision of the Disabled Facilities Grant, but they are also providing increasingly nuanced grants and adaptations surrounding dementia. This involves: explaining dementia and their services in more detail, providing dementia-based adaptations under multiple grants, outlining a range of dementia specific adaptations within the policy.
The language is also shifting around these dementia grants, with the policies increasingly referring to these as ‘Independence at Home Grants.’ There are now 45 Local Authorities providing these more detailed dementia grants.
This review was conducted alongside an updating of an information hub padlet page which depicts these grants on a map in attempts to advertise and promote this information more broadly. This positive shift confirms housing policy and practice to be increasingly responding to the needs of people with dementia and proves hopeful for the future engagement of local authorities with dementia.
“It is so encouraging to see more councils working strategically to ensure adaptations, aids and assistive technology are supporting people affected by dementia. Preventing emergency hospital admissions and delaying relocations to care homes should be on everyone’s agenda, and dementia grants are doing just that.”
Kirstie MacLean Kalonji, Sector Engagement Policy Manager, Alzheimer’s Society