The pilot Dementia Enablement Project (DEP) aimed to help people living with dementia to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. It focused on enabling safe and independent living, allowing people to maintain their routines and connections to their local community and at the same time, reducing the risk of falls and accidents, which can lead to costly hospitalisation or residential care.
The DEP originated from a partnership between the Life Changes Trust and Care and Repair Scotland. The Life Changes Trust is committed to improving the quality of life, wellbeing, empowerment, and inclusion of people living with dementia, unpaid carers and young people with care experience. Since the 1980s, Care and Repair Scotland has helped older people to improve the liveability of their homes, ensuring that they better suit their needs.
The project funded Dementia Enablement Officers (DEOs) and a budget for enablement equipment to support people living with dementia and, where relevant, unpaid carers. The project operated in four areas: Aberdeen, Angus, Lochaber, and Lochalsh & Skye. The pilot started in February 2016 and ended in July 2019 in all areas except Lochalsh & Skye, where the project completed in January 2019.
In each area, the service combined visits and safety assessments, the provision of enablement equipment, advice and help to access further support and care services, and ongoing contact after the main work was completed. A DEO carried out a safety check and assessed the home environment, found out about the lifestyle of the person living with dementia and reviewed their needs. Together they selected equipment, from a core set of enablement adaptations, which would help to reduce physical and sensory challenges and make the home safer. The discussions also considered additional elements of support that could be provided by Care and Repair or other local agencies that would further maintain their independence and enable them to live safely in their home environment.
The evaluation of the project shows that the pilot project had a positive impact and delivered a range of outcomes for people living with dementia that helped them to continue to feel and be safe and independent in their own homes. The enablement equipment installed as part of the core offering or accessed with funding or other agencies with the help of DEOs reduced the risk of falls, lessened confusion and the likelihood of night-time wandering, and enabled participants to oversee further adaptations to their home. Advice and signposting offered alongside practical services meant that people affected by dementia received additional benefits and funding to stay in their own homes and could access social work or occupational services that increased their sense of safety and well-being.
The full report can be downloaded here: