Dementia Dwelling Grants – What are they and do they make a difference?

We’ve recently been involved in evaluating a pilot project which provided small aids and adaptations to people with dementia living in their own homes in Worcestershire, and thought we’d tell you a bit more about it.

What is a Dementia Dwelling Grant?

The Dementia Dwelling Grant (DDG) is aimed at improving the wellbeing of people with dementia to enable them to remain independent in their own homes. The DDG is not means-tested, but is based on an assessment of a person’s individual needs and the equipment is provided free within a defined allocation. Local Dementia Advisors carry out the assessments and recommend small-scale aids and adaptations that could be useful to people.

How does the DDG work?

Those in receipt of the DDG are provided with the actual aids and adaptations rather than having to source and buy them themselves. The items are delivered and installed as necessary by a handyperson service. Because the assessment is personalised to each individual, some people may receive more aids than others in order to help meet their needs – as long as it’s within their DDG allocation of course.

What counts as an aid or adaptation?

A list of potential aids and adaptations was put together based on research and experience of best practice in dementia-friendly design. It didn’t include ones that were available through other services. Many were quite simple and low-key, such as non-slip bath mats, dementia-friendly clocks, touch bedside lights, and notice boards.

Oh, that’s not as high-tech as I was expecting

No, and that’s important to realise. We’re not talking about taking over people’s homes with touch screens and digital technology, we’re talking about relatively basic equipment that people just might not know about, or might not realise could be useful.

What did you find out?

The DDG was a very popular and necessary initiative with 510 people living with dementia being assessed during the pilot phase and 382 of these received a DDG. Our work focused on the 101 people who were happy to be involved in the evaluation, which involved measuring people’s wellbeing and satisfaction at different time points. Recipients of the DDG felt less lonely over time and more satisfied with life and their accommodation. They also felt more worthwhile and less anxious after 3 months.

On average, people required five items, and even taking in staff costs and installation, this was well within the DDG budget allocations. The most beneficial aids were found to be a freestanding dementia clock, noticeboard/whiteboard, night lights/automatic lights, touch bedside light, and a key safe.

Additional case studies found that recipients valued the DDG and felt that the aids and adaptations had made a big difference to them. It was interesting to see that even relatively minor and inexpensive equipment can improve quality of life for people with dementia living in their own homes.

So quite positive then?

Yes, and following the successful pilot phase the DDG are continuing to be offered across Worcestershire, which is great news.

Further information:

If you’d like to find out more about the work, have a look at an article we’ve recently had published. If you think you could benefit from a DDG and live in Worcestershire, have a look at the Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire website.

One thought on “Dementia Dwelling Grants – What are they and do they make a difference?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s