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Understanding and supporting safe walking with purpose among people living with dementia in extra care, retirement and domestic housing

Julia Barrett (Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK)
Simon Evans (Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK)
Vanessa Pritchard-Wilkes (Housing 21, Birmingham, UK)

Housing, Care and Support

ISSN: 1460-8790

Article publication date: 6 July 2020

Issue publication date: 12 August 2020

149

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose this paper is to explore walking with purpose in extra care, retirement and domestic housing settings to better understand and support people living with dementia in these settings, develop recommendations and inform practice.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-methods study was used: scoping literature review; online survey of extra care and retirement housing managers in the UK; case studies involving interviews with staff and family carers (n = 14) of ten individuals who engaged in walking with purpose in the different housing settings.

Findings

Although residents who walk with purpose constitute a minority (0–2 residents), managing walking with purpose can be challenging and time consuming. Distraction or redirection was the most common response. Other strategies included identifying the resident’s motivations and accommodating their wishes or walking with them. Culture of care, staff training and dementia-friendly design are keys to effective support for safe walking with purpose. Responses to walking with purpose in the domestic housing settings have raised serious deprivation of liberty issues.

Research limitations/implications

This study had a number of limitations. The completed survey questionnaires represent a self-selected sample of extra care and retirement housing settings, and responses are based on the perceptions of the staff members completing the survey. There were a relatively small number of case study sites (three extra care housing and three retirement housing), and it was not possible to interview family members for all of the residents who walked with purpose.

Originality/value

This study provides unique data on walking with purpose in extra care and retirement housing setting in the UK.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was commissioned and funded by Housing 21 that also facilitated contact with the managers at potential case study sites. We would like to thank all the family carers, staff and managers at the case study sites who took part in the interviews for giving up their time and sharing their views and experiences.

Citation

Barrett, J., Evans, S. and Pritchard-Wilkes, V. (2020), "Understanding and supporting safe walking with purpose among people living with dementia in extra care, retirement and domestic housing", Housing, Care and Support, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 37-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-03-2020-0004

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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