Care homes: Dementia


In 2021, around 70 per cent of people living in care home had dementia, a prevalence that had risen from 56 per cent in 2002.

Most care home residents who live with dementia are at the latter stages of the condition and may struggle to communicate their needs and preferences.  

A person’s behaviour may become an important way of communicating unmet needs and distress. A thorough knowledge of each person’s life history, health and preferences will help those supporting people living with dementia to maintain their wellbeing.  

Recent research by Professor Ian James and Dr Joanna Marshall (psychologists in Northumberland) has suggested eight fundamental needs that dementia care should meet. These needs are shown as a ‘needs tree’ .

Care home staff do a skilled and crucial job supporting people living with dementia to flourish. It is important to look below the soil and remember that, in order to meet the needs of residents, the needs of staff must be given consideration too.

the needs tree

CLEAR Dementia Care app

The CLEAR Dementia Care app was developed by Dr Frances Duffy, a psychologist in Northern Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland). It is based on a model that lots of services (including local dementia services) are trying to adopt in England. It lots of information about dementia and tips for supporting people with challenging behaviours.

CLEAR Dementia Care is available to download for free on app stores (see right).

Review date: Wednesday, 01 February 2023