To conclude, Betty may be forced to stop doing the things she enjoys as her dementia progresses, because she is worried about getting the support she needs from her built environment. This will have a devastating impact on her health and wellbeing.
Why does construction matter?
The Construction industry is involved in the design and build of key areas, such as housing, commercial, education, healthcare, public spaces and transport, all of which will have a direct affect on people living with dementia. Furthermore, many construction companies are involved in working to improve the lives of local residents and tourists. We therefore expect the industry to consider vulnerable groups, such as people living with dementia.
How can you help?
- Ensure there is a basic knowledge and understanding of dementia throughout your business by rolling out Dementia Friends to all of your team members. This is an easy and affective awareness raising initiative which can be as simple as watching a 10 minute video.
- Build on this foundation, by following the guidelines in our business guide.
Examples of next steps specifically for the construction industry:
- Involve citizens/people living with dementia at design stage
- Build safe, non-clinical, dementia and age-friendly environments
- Engage retailers, supply chains and designers with dementia-friendly checklists
- Coproduce with policy planners, designers, commissioners, housing and health care professionals
Over 1 million people in the UK are set to have dementia by 2021, and over two thirds of these individuals will be living in the community. It is vital that the construction sector is working to ensure our communities are built in a dementia-friendly way, so that people living with dementia can continue to live well.
Contributor: Kirstie Kalonji is Programme Partnerships Officer at the Alzheimer's Society