A new care community specifically designed to empower residents to continue living full and satisfying lives has welcomed its first residents. 

Providing residential care, nursing and specialist support for people with dementia, Norden House in Littlehampton, West Sussex, supports residents to continue to live active and fulfilling lives, aiming to enhance wellbeing and reduce the stigma around frailty and dementia.

The layout, look, feel and amenities have been inspired by research into what people with dementia want from the built care environment and the Hogeweyk in dementia village in Holland.

The £10 million facility, developed and managed by the Healthcare Management Trust, provides a ‘home from home’ environment, promoting a sense of freedom and independence.

Residents live with up to seven other people in a household, who have similar care needs or are at a similar stage of dementia, important for reducing stress and encouraging socialisation. Each household has its own kitchen, open plan lounge dining room, day lounge spaces and ensuite bedrooms many of which have their own patio.

Running through the centre of the community is a ‘high street’ with a café and hair salon. There are also gardens and a holistic therapy room. Residents are encouraged to go about ‘daily routines’ and contribute to the running of village life.

Sue Alexander’s mum Anne Bevan, 87, has recently moved into Norden House following her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease last year. She said: “Knowing that mum was going to be in a place where she could retain her independence and be comfortable was very important to us. Everyone at Norden House has been extremely supportive and helpful and mum is already starting to feel at home.”

Annie Lewis, Norden House Manager, said: “Ultimately, we want to remove the barriers that people face when becoming older, more frail or living with dementia. Having something like a café or a hair salon enables residents to continue to experience similar things that they did when they lived in their own home. A sense of destination and purpose can do wonders for older people and those living with dementia.

“We wanted to create a place that feels like a true home, filled with love, understanding, and state-of-the-art care. Our model of care is unique to the south coast. Everything is resident-led and centred around the individual needs of our residents, ensuring they live with dignity and comfort. We’re delighted to finally open our doors and welcome our new residents.”

Norden House has been designed to feel less like a care home and more like a village community. There are no trollies with medication coming round, no set meal times in big dining rooms, everything has an emphasis on a domestic homely environment. Staff do not wear uniforms and are known as “home makers” rather than care staff. The care they deliver is informed by the needs and wishes of the resident and their family.

There are currently 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040*. In West Sussex, dementia cases are expected to rise to 22,450 by 2030**.

Mair Williams, Chief Operations Officer of Healthcare Management Trust, said: “Norden House is very different to the mainstream traditional care homes people are used to and is first for us as a Trust. Research has shown that person-centred care for people with dementia has improved quality of life, reduced agitation and the burden of depression or aggression, and reduced GP visits***. With dementia cases rising rapidly, we need to provide care that is fit for the individual to ensure they are able to enjoy their life and surroundings as much as they can. We are incredibly proud to deliver this new model of care to people with dementia on the south coast.”

Norden House was developed by Brackley Investment in conjunction with Hunters architects and construction by Highwood. The name Norden House was chosen by local school pupils at Littlehampton Academy who took part in a competition to name the facility. Emilee Gibb’s entry of Atherington Norden House was chosen as the winning entry. Atherington is a small village on the edge of Climping, which is submerged in the sea. The notion of being submerged aligns to someone with dementia. Norden was a cartographer who drew detailed maps of the area. After discussions with the local authority the Atherington was removed from the name and the facility became known as Norden House.