THE NATIONAL Trust's Hinton Ampner House near Alresford and Mottisfont Abbey near Romsey are just two of 500 historic properties which will undergo a programme to make them Dementia Friendly.

The properties are to become part of an ambitious three-year project to unlock some of the nation’s best loved history and heritage for millions of people affected by dementia.

In the first project of its kind, the trust has joined forces with Alzheimer’s Society, after figures revealed that seven per cent (about 150,000) of National Trust supporters over the age of 65, including its volunteers, staff and members, may be living with the condition.

A trust spokesman said: "For people with dementia and their carers, historic spaces, collections and stories can prompt and stimulate discussion and connection, encourage outdoor exploration, and offer a vital connection to the world around them, with day trips recognised as one of the most likely and regular activities for people living with the condition and their carers.

"In comparison to other visitor attractions, people living with dementia also view heritage sites as ‘safe’ and familiar spaces. Heritage - including visiting sites and participating in outdoors projects - has also been found to be one of the top activities of choice for those impacted by dementia, in surveys and focus groups carried out by Alzheimer’s Society."

Launched at the culmination of World Alzheimer’s Month, this latest project will give the trust’s 9,000 staff and 65,000 volunteers the opportunity to join Alzheimer Society’s three million Dementia Friends, and learn more about how the trust’s sites can be more welcoming to those affected by the condition which can cause people to become worried, anxious or confused.

Visitors can expect to see improvements at some properties, from improved signage, facilities and modifications to materials used on paths and car parks, to developing dementia services such as cafes, tours and social events.

But the National Trust will also be taking heritage to people with dementia at local care homes, hospitals, day centres and community groups, and leading the drive for more dementia-friendly communities by hosting awareness raising activities and making improvements for those living with the disease.

Alzheimer's Society has announced that it's also publishing a new guide to help tourism businesses make themselves more dementia-friendly.