Designing Homes for Healthy Cognitive Ageing: Co-Production for Impact and Scale (DesHCA)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling
Department Name: Applied Social Science

Abstract

As we age, many of us will experience cognitive changes, and for some of us, these will develop into dementia. We know that people's homes can make the experience of cognitive changes more difficult, or can enable continuing inclusion and sense of self-worth and self-esteem. DesHCA will work with people experiencing ageing and cognitive change and those who design and develop housing. We will identify housing innovations that can support living better for longer with cognitive change. Our emphasis on healthy cognitive ageing goes beyond narrow conceptions of 'dementia-friendly design' into a more expansive and inclusive approach to housing innovation.

The multidisciplinary DesHCA team involves stakeholders from all areas of housing provision, including people experiencing ageing and cognitive change, architects and designers, housing experts, planners, builders and housing providers. Older people are integral to DesHCA and their health is at its heart. The project will design and build virtual and real designs that will act as demonstrators and test-beds for innovations to support healthy cognitive ageing. These designs will be evaluated from stakeholder points of view, then considered at a larger scale to examine their real-world feasibility. DesHCA has a unique opportunity to feed directly into the UK and Scottish Government City Region Deal for Central Scotland (Stirling and Clackmannanshire), providing groundwork for local housing developments. The focus of this is sustainable, lifetime health, community and economic development, addressing deprivation and inequality.

To achieve these aims, DesHCA takes a co-production approach, with the whole team working to identify innovations that engage with their real-world experiences and aspirations. We will use exciting and involving ways to collect data which will be used to inform the design of the demonstrator houses. These designs will evolve as stakeholders interact with them and provide feedback from their different points of view. To collect data, we will ask older people to map and evaluate their own homes and to experience and comment on new design features using virtual reality (VR). They will then collaborate with builders, architects and housing providers in VR workshops to identify practical, realistic and affordable designs that can support healthy cognitive ageing, and therefore longer healthy, independent life. Partners will then come together in interactive workshops to convert designs into plans within a fictional town, building and retrofitting homes, creating services and managing budgets. We will demonstrate how designs can work out in the real world, and how to bring together the various interests involved. Throughout, we will consider issues of costs, to inform business planning and help make decisions on implementation of the new designs.

The impact of DesHCA will be achieved through showing what works in housing design for healthy cognitive ageing. Immediately, DesHCA will feed into the City Region Deal and longer term we will provide tools for future developers to inform their decisions about housing for healthy cognitive ageing. Throughout the project, we will disseminate findings to the housing, architecture and building sectors through stakeholder networks. We will publish rigorous research findings to provide a peer reviewed, high quality research base for innovation. Thus we will go beyond recommendations and guidance to provide evidence to support delivery at scale, grounded in the co-production approach that draws on the real experience, interests and imperatives that drive different stakeholders.

DesHCA's multidisciplinary team will build capacity among early career researchers in research leadership, working across disciplines such as architecture and planning, economics, sociology and across sectors with a range of different industrial and professional stakeholders, such as housing workers, planners and construction companies.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Clackmannanshire Council 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department Clackmannanshire Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are providing early access to research findings and opportunities to participate in project workshops.
Collaborator Contribution They are local housing providers and also partners in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal and bring expertise in these significant real world areas of housing development and improving lives for people living with dementia..
Impact None as yet - too early
Start Year 2021
 
Description Construction Scotland Innovation Centre 
Organisation Construction Scotland Innovation Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We involve them in discussions about the operation and future directions of the project and in workshops developing ne housing designs for healthy cognitive ageing.
Collaborator Contribution They provide expertise in the construction sector.
Impact not yet - too early
Start Year 2021
 
Description Faithfull and Gould 
Organisation Faithful+Gould
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution They have access to findings as they emerge and learn from our various activities as the project progresses.
Collaborator Contribution They bring expertise in the construction sector including surveying and project planning.
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description Mediva 
Organisation Mediva
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Attended three workshops and study visits. We work closely with Mediva in Japan improving design of environments for people living with dementia
Collaborator Contribution Attended three workshops and study visits. Hosted early career researchers. They provide cross-national expertise and advice for our research.
Impact We have reported publications and additional funding (DesHCA project followed from work done in collaboration with Japanese partners).
Start Year 2019
 
Description Stirling Council 
Organisation Stirling Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution They will have access to early research findings and will participate in project workshops and events.
Collaborator Contribution They are local housing providers and also partners in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal and bring expertise in these significant real world areas of housing development and improving lives for people living with dementia..
Impact None as yet - too early
Start Year 2021