Soaring demand for dementia care
With increased life expectancy, one in six people over the age of 80 are developing some form of dementia. A study by The Lancet predicts that more than 70,000 care home places will be needed by 2025.
With only about 25 per cent of existing care home beds being dedicated to dementia care, there is a big gap in provision, both now and in the future. It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of residents living in care homes have significant memory problems or dementia and that 56,000 more dedicated dementia beds will be needed within seven years.
All care providers are looking at how they can adapt or evolve their provision to meet this burgeoning demand. Care home operators developing new homes have recognised this increase in demand, and about 60 per cent of homes for older people built since 2010 provide some form of dedicated dementia care.
While more dementia beds are coming on stream via new developments, beds are also being lost through closures. About 85 per cent of care homes are over 50 years old; many lack en-suite or wetroom provision and so are unlikely to meet the requirements of discerning customers, particularly those funding their own care.
While much of the focus is on care homes, other providers are looking closely at how they can develop models of provision which meet the needs of people living with dementia, not least retirement communities. The National Housing Federation has recommended new care developments to allow people with dementia to live independently in their own property in the grounds of a care home with some communal facilities.