Changing demographics, an ageing population, growing pressures on health and social care services, and a national housing shortage, make for an interesting mix of challenges which touch all elements of society and industry sectors. This has led to greater focus being placed on designing, refurbishing and creating dwellings which can support occupants at every stage of their lives, and through illness and changes that are part of the ageing process.

It is estimated that some 850,000 people in the UK suffer from Dementia and 70-80% of people living with dementia continue to live in their own homes rather than in any specialised form of housing. With 1 million sufferers of Dementia in the UK predicted by 2025, this is a trend which requires some careful thought in how we develop homes, communities and towns.

With support from the BRE Trust, BRE, Loughborough University, Halsall Lloyd Partnerships and Liverpool John Moores University, have developed a demonstration home to present evidence-based design, adaptation and support solutions which allow people to age well at home.

The 100sqm Victorian house has been adapted to cater for different types and stages of dementia, and is aimed at people living with dementia to live independently by addressing their day-to-day needs. The upper floor of the home has been adapted for the more advanced stages of dementia. The building design has been developed around the needs of two specific personas (or avatars), Chris and Sally. The design narrative describes how the features of the building have been adapted to support Chris and Sally as they age well at home. The prototype will be supported by short films detailing how dementia affects Chris and Sally on a good, average and bad day, with different actors re-creating the different stages of dementia. These films have been created by the University of Loughborough.

The Home was formerly opened by Lord Best OBE, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing & Care for Older People on the BRE Innovation Park in Watford on the 4th of July 2018.

Dementia Home event – 8 November 2018

BRE, Loughborough University, Halsall Lloyd Partnership and a host of industry partners have completed a demonstration building on the Innovation Park in Watford. This demonstration, entitled ‘Chris & Sally’s house: Living with Dementia’ has been designed and constructed by a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in health & care, architecture, smart technology, and building performance. This innovative approach could break the mould in relation to the development and adaptation of housing to meet the needs of our ageing population.

BRE hosted this event on 8 November 2018 and featured presentations from across the breadth of stakeholders involved in housing for an ageing population. Delegates also had the opportunity to inform future activities related to the topic and engaged with academics and businesses who share a common interest.

See more here

Presentations of the day

Katey Twyford presentation


Patrick Bonnett presentation


Joe Forster presentation


Bill Halsall and Eef Hogervorst presentation


Master presentation



Our demonstration home is based on ‘Design for Dementia’, the outcome from the cumulative knowledge gained from Innovate Dementia Europe funded research partnership into living better at home with dementia developed by Bill Halsall of Halsall Lloyd Partnership and Dr Rob McDonald of John Moores University Liverpool, in conjunction with Mersey Care NHS, Intereg IVB, Dementia Action Alliance and the SURF (Service Users Reference Forum). A distinguishing feature of this work was the participatory nature of the research, involving health professionals, academics and carers along with a living laboratory of people with dementia.  Find out more


Chris and Sally's House

The dementia home was created to showcase how people with the condition can live independently for longer. The show home is designed around concepts and technologies which will allow people with dementia to live independently for longer in their own home. Find out more

Dementia House Launch

The Home was formerly opened by Lord Best OBE, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing & Care for Older People on the BRE Innovation Park in Watford on the 4th of July 2018.

Highlights of the day

Chris and Sally’s House

Personas can be used to represent users throughout the design process.  The personas used in this project represent the needs and symptoms of fictional people living with dementia.  They are evidence based and bring together research in a format that is useful for highlighting the needs of those who may find it difficult to articulate this information themselves.

By outlining the needs of people with dementia, these personas pave the way for the use of a Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) approach to the design of housing for people with dementia. HFE is likely to be a particularly useful approach to design for people with dementia as it involves using information on users’ capabilities and limitations to design systems that support people to succeed in various tasks of daily life.


Dementia Personas

Dementia House Partners