Housing help for dementia sufferers on agenda

FRAIL ELDERLY people could be given extra help to continue living in their local communities under new plans to provide specialist housing in every major town in North Yorkshire.

Picture posed by models

By 2020 nearly a quarter of the county’s residents will be over 65 and the number of people with dementia is expected to increase by more than 20 per cent.

Now bosses at North Yorkshire County Council are planning to consult on a new care strategy which would create more than 50 housing schemes under its extra care programme to meet the needs of people with dementia.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Officials say the move is part of a new strategy to meet future needs and allow people to live independent lives in their own homes so they can remain part of their local communities for longer.

There are already 16 extra care schemes in North Yorkshire providing accommodation in 649 apartments. They enable people aged 55 and over or other vulnerable adults to live in their own homes but with care and support around the clock, seven days a week if required, with communal facilities including a lounge, restaurant and assisted bathing room.

The approach is being widened to provide supported living for younger people with learning disabilities and specialist extra care housing for people living with dementia.

County Councillor Clare Wood, the council’s executive member for health and adult services, said the programme would play a “pivotal role” in the council’s ambition to support communities.

“It provides an innovative and flexible model of partnership working to meet the care and social needs of older and vulnerable people, placing them at the very heart of their communities where they want to belong,” she said.

In coming years extra care housing schemes could incorporate a GP surgery, library, respite care, a short-break service and specialist accommodation for people living with dementia and people with other complex needs.

The council is also proposing to use extra care as a base from which to run other community services among them car clubs, where volunteers will be able to use the cars to transport people to medical appointments, social activities and shopping trips. Other examples including allotments with produce being used to run healthy living projects.

The extra care housing scheme at Bainbridge in Wensleydale already includes a post office, community library, small shop, hair and beauty salon, all open to the public.

Coun Wood added: “People want to be as independent as possible throughout their lives. That is driving the changes we now propose to bring about.”

A public consultation will be held from August to November. A final strategy will be decided by the council’s executive early next year.