Living with dementia in supported housing: a systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative research

Michael Smith*, Margaret Brown, Louise Ritchie, Constantina Papadopoulou, Debbie Tolson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Supported housing has been highlighted as a potential way to facilitate independent living for people with dementia by integrating housing with support or care services. However, the benefits and challenges of living with dementia in supported housing are not fully understood. This systematic review and thematic synthesis sought to understand how living in supported housing influences the lives of people with dementia, from the perspectives of people with dementia, their supporters, health and social care professionals. Seven databases were searched for qualitative research, date range: 1 January 2000–31 July 2021. Eleven published articles were included in the thematic synthesis. One core theme was generated, Maintaining Independence and Autonomy, divided into three subthemes – Support and Care, Social Relationships and the Physical Environment. Factors like person-centred care, social interaction and good environmental design contributed to the maintenance of independence and autonomy. Barriers like low staff ratios, stigma and limited access to the community led to a loss of independence and autonomy – often leading to people with dementia being referred or managed out of the settings. Although the articles acknowledged the importance of maintaining independence and autonomy for people with dementia, it appeared that supported housing settings often lacked the resources and facilities to make this a reality. More high-quality research is needed, particularly from the perspectives of people with dementia and their supporters, to understand if supported housing can delay care home admission, promote independence and autonomy and facilitate social networks and community connections for this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e589-e604
Number of pages16
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Issue number3
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022


  • dementia
  • housing for the elderly
  • independent living
  • social interaction
  • environment design
  • social support
  • qualitative research


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