Should We Look to Open Up More Dementia Friendly Facilities?

Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 9th of October 2018.


With dementia diagnoses increasing year on year, the need for dementia friendly facilities is no doubt rising, but what do we currently have on offer for people with dementia, is it enough and what does the future hold?

Apart from dementia-focused care homes, access to dementia friendly facilities are fairly limited in the UK. There are a number of dementia-related group activities such as singing groups like Singing for the Brain, and Memory Cafes, specifically designed to offer a place for people with dementia and their carers to socialise. However, these tend to run as weekly, fornightly or monthly events in hired venues, so visits must be planned and spontaneous meet-ups are limited. This can be frustrating if you want to plan outside events for a person with dementia on a regular basis. There has also been an increase in more dementia-friendly venues, such as dementia-friendly airports and dementia-friendly theatre performances, however there is no doubt that these venues need to be more readily available across the country.

But, gradually the need for these dementia-friendly facilities is being noticed, leading people to open more permanent venues, such as dementia cafes. These cafes, unlike memory cafes, are opened daily and specifically designed with full disability access, entry systems and proper acoustics to enable people to hear properly.

There are also plans for much larger, dementia-friendly facilities, which will no doubt change the dementia caring landscape for the future. For example, Hogeweyk in Holland, a ‘Dementia Village’, which has been specifically designed for people with dementia and their carers. Hogeweyk is a self-contained world with restaurants, cafes, shops and apartments, designed resemble as normal life as possible whilst being a safe and secure place for people with dementia to live. Each apartment has 6 to 8 people living within them, including a caretaker who is on hand to look after them. There are also plans for a similar space in Southwest of France, designed to emulate the look and layout of the surrounding villages whilst providing a safe living environment for people with dementia.

As these types of facilities increase in notoriety, and their positive impact becomes more widely understood, there is the possibility we will begin to see more dementia-friendly facilities here in the UK. This can only be seen as a positive step, helping people with dementia feel cared for, loved and acknowledged.