Dementia Support

Many residents in an ExtraCare retirement community live with dementia. Additionally, many residents also live with other common conditions that affect their mental wellbeing, such as depression and anxiety. Although these can have a notable impact on quality of life, living independently is still possible.

Living in an ExtraCare community may be able to help you if you have a dementia diagnosis.

What is dementia?

Dementia can be very misunderstood. It is not a condition in its own right; it is a syndrome, a collection of symptoms linked to a wide range of diseases that cause damage to the brain.

There are many different types of dementia; the most common are Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia, although there are many more.

Dementia symptoms include memory impairment, difficulties with problem solving, regulation of behaviour and even visual perception difficulties.

Around 850,000 people are estimated to be living with a dementia in the UK and although age is a key risk factor in developing a dementia-related disease, dementia is not purely an older people’s issue as it does affect younger people also.

What dementia support is available in ExtraCare communities?

ExtraCare has a long history of supporting people living with dementia. Between 2007 and 2009 we embarked on a research study into delivering a new dementia service for our residents. This led us to creating our Enriched Opportunities Programme, a dedicated service run by specially-trained staff called Locksmiths.

For full research results, click here.

Aging & Mental Health Journal: EOP article

Read the National Audit Office's report on the Enriched Opportunities Programme®.

The term Locksmith was originally chosen due to its ambiguity, although it had meaning; we wanted to emphasise that this is a role that unpicks issues and unlocks potential. This was at a time when the terms dementia or mental health were considered a barrier.

We have now changed the name of this service to the Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Service, and our former Locksmiths are now known as Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Enablers

This is a change that makes the purpose of the service clearer, retains what makes it unique but also reflects what is taking place outside of ExtraCare, where people are realising that it is okay to use the terms dementia and mental health or wellbeing. This language aims to reduce stigma and encourages factual talk about issues related to dementia and mental health. We want to encourage people to be open about their physical and mental health, and to know what support is available if they need it.

Our dedicated Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Enablers to support residents living with dementia and common mental health conditions.

A Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Enabler can support you by

Will an independence-focused retirement community always meet my needs?

Because everyone experiences dementia differently, it is not always possible to say how long an ExtraCare scheme or village may meet your needs.

Many people have remained living well in our communities with varying levels of dementia and we support individuals, their families and other professionals involved in their care and support by making adjustments as dementia progresses.

Your living arrangements should allow you to remain safe, maintain your dignity and have a good quality of life. If we felt that living in one of our communities was no longer meeting your needs; then there come be a time that we would work with you and those involved in your care to find an alternative. For example, this may be a smaller care setting, with a higher level of care available.