The "New Dementia": Widening Choices for Future Support

Wednesday 21 March, 6pm, at the Scottish Parliament

Scotland’s Futures Forum will join with the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Dementia to host a discussion on models of housing and care for people with dementia.

Chaired by the Cross-Party Group's Convener Richard Lyle MSP, the event will hear from speakers including Colm Cunningham, director of the Dementia Centre of HammondCare, an Australian charity that provides impartial research and expertise to the aged and dementia care community.

The event follows a project of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute involving HammondCare, along with the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, looking at models of housing and care in different parts of the world. As part of the project, a briefing paper was produced by and with people affected by dementia in Scotland. This details the key features identified by the people involved as crucial in any model of care.

The authors – Agnes Houston, Dr. James McKillop, Archie Noone, Anne Ramsay, Frank Ramsay – noted that these are not a wish-list but a matter of “our human rights”.

The features are:

  1. An informal, family feel, a “sense of belonging.” A non-regimented, noninstitutional situation. Small units with “a sense of love”.
  2. A positive culture, a feeling of “helplessness-to-hopefulness”.
  3. The freedom “to do what you want to do, when you want to do it.” Reassurance of safety, but the perhaps the option to “opt in or out of risk.”
  4. Well-trained staff (more important than the surroundings). Specifically, with skills and training in end-of-life care.
  5. Quiet places to go - including access to outdoor space.
  6. Flexible facilities. Different levels of care that you can move between (not have to leave). But non-segregation – not dementia-specific units. Facilities for couples (including same-sex)”

The full paper can be accessed from the University of Edinburgh’s website: https://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/widening_choices_suii_report_final.compressed.pdf