Introducing a new approach to dementia care in the North West

Elderly lady and her daughter

An approach to dementia and ageing care, that has benefited thousands of people in the Netherlands for the last 25 years, is being brought to the North West.

Today, Wednesday 6 March, researchers from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Population Health launched the ‘Living Lab in Ageing and Dementia’.

The ‘Living Lab’ is not a physical space but a network of researchers embedded in social care settings such as day care centres, respite care, home care agencies, and care homes. Here they can build relationships with service-users, their families, and professionals to improve care and knowledge. Following today’s launch, it’s hoped that the approach will be adopted across the North West Coast of England which includes areas such as Merseyside and Wirral, Blackpool, Morecombe, and Cumbria.

At the launch event hosted at the University of Liverpool, specialists, health and social care professionals and those with lived experience of dementia heard first-hand accounts from those who introduced the practice in the Netherlands 25 years ago. Since being established in 1998, the Dutch model now covers approximately 110 long-term care facilities (e.g. nursing homes, assisted and group living facilities) as well as professional home care, and includes about 30,000 clients and more than 15,000 staff. It’s hoped that the model will be just as successful here as it has been abroad.

Dr Clarissa Giebel, Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Population Health at the University of Liverpool and at the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast, said: “One million people are living with dementia in the UK, with numbers continuing to increase. Not only does dementia affect the person living with the condition, but also their family members and friends. This model uses a team science approach, with great scientific and societal impact and I’m delighted we are spearheading its introduction to the North West. Today’s launch gives us the opportunity to speak directly to those in the sector who we want to work with. We want to collaborate and make a meaningful and positive difference to the lives of those with dementia, their friends and family and those who care for them in a professional and unpaid capacity.”

Speaking at the launch were researchers from Maastricht University, Netherlands:  Professor Jan Hamers, Founder and chairman of the Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Care, and Professor Hilde Verbeek, Vice-chair of the Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Car.

Professor Hamers said: “I’m very proud and honoured that the University of Liverpool and its partners have launched a Living Lab using the Limburg Living Lab model. Next to the benefits for vulnerable older people, their family, care staff and scientists living and working in the North West Coast region, this step will enable further collaboration between twin living labs in the UK and abroad. The challenges people face both pre and post a dementia diagnosis are universal and by sharing knowledge and insight we can come together to address this global issue.”

Further information about Professors Hamers’ and Verbeek’s work and the Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Care can be found here.

If you work In the field of dementia care and wish to find out more please email: Dr Clarissa Giebel (