HealthCare New Zealand is delighted to have won the Overall Award at the Southern DHB Innovations Awards, for their feasibility study of dementia care cottages.

Divisional Chief Executive, Sean Conroy says HealthCare New Zealand is keen to test how dementia care cottages could work in local contexts.

“Internationally, dementia care cottages have been shown to provide more independence, choice and control for people with dementia, correlating to a higher quality of life, lower use of some medications and fewer admissions to hospital.”

“This award allows HealthCare New Zealand to proceed with our feasibility study, testing how this internationally successful model for supporting people with dementia can best be adapted for local use,” says Conroy.

“New Zealand’s rates of dementia are growing along with our aging population, and Alzheimers New Zealand projects that dementia will affect 2.9% of our total population by the year 2050.”

“Dementia care cottages allow people to live in an independent, supported environment, as an alternative to large dementia units in aged residential care facilities,” Sean Conroy says.

Dementia care cottages are 4-5 bedroom houses with shared communal facilities that:

  • Enable people with dementia to remain as independent as possible by contributing to the running of the house, for example assisting with meal preparation and cleaning.
  • Incorporate dementia design features aimed at keeping the person with dementia as independent and safe as possible.
  • Provide a small, familiar, family type atmosphere.

“I would like to thank the Southern District Health Board for recognising the potential of dementia care cottages, and HealthCare New Zealand looks forward to discussing the study’s progress more widely,” says Conroy.


  1. Interesting as this is how we used to run dementia care units. While not 4 or 5 bedrooms, but they were in large houses where it was run like a home with maybe 9 or 10 bedrooms but they did function well. Shame they have all been forced out of the industry because they were not economically viable.


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