Brendoncare’s dementia care lecture discusses the importance of environment

Held at the prestigious Royal Society of Medicine in London on Monday 20 February, the Brendoncare lecture focused on the key topic of building environments which support best practices in dementia care. The lead speaker was Professor Julienne Meyer CBE, Professor of Nursing: Care for Older People at City University London and Executive Director of the My Home Life programme. My Home Life is a UK-wide initiative, hosted by City University and in collaboration with Age UK that promotes quality of life for those living, dying, visiting and working in care homes for older people.

Professor Meyer discussed how the built environment can impact on behaviour, function, wellbeing, social abilities, orientation, and care outcomes for people with dementia within a care home setting. She also touched on how perceived improvements to the environment for people with dementia can have both a positive and negative impact for other residents, relatives and staff. However, attention to the environmental design itself is not enough; staff have a real role to play by helping to create a feeling of homeliness. Homeliness can mean different things to different people, so care needs to maintain individuality, while also creating a sense of community. Professor Meyer’s message was that the impact of the environment is greatest when combined with strong leadership, a positive philosophy of care and well-trained staff.

Professor Meyer’s presentation can be viewed here.

Many of these key themes have been included in Brendoncare’s Otterbourne Hill development near Winchester in Hampshire. Designed to support couples to continue living together following a diagnosis of dementia, Otterbourne Hill will provide onsite care and support for both partners within apartments built to the University of Stirling’s ‘Gold’ standard of dementia care. There will also be a vibrant community hub with a range of facilities, clubs and activities. The Brendoncare Foundation’s Chief Executive, Carole Sawyers, spoke about the project and the positive impact it will have on both residents and the wider community.

The evening ended with a lively discussion by the audience, which included David Mayhew, the Government’s Dementia Envoy. Mr Mayhew talked about the severity of the dementia problem and that, despite an improvement in lifestyles and medical advances, the number of people living with dementia is expected to continue to grow.

We would like to thank the large variety of national and local organisations and individuals who came to the lecture and showed great interest in and support for Otterbourne Hill. Further information about the development can be found here.

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Professor Julienne Meyer CBE
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