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Elderly to lose home before Christmas

PUBLISHED: 13:10 16 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

MORE than 20 elderly people today facing losing the home they love just weeks before Christmas because the owner cannot afford to carry out work to improve it.

MORE than 20 elderly people today facing losing the home they love just weeks before Christmas because the owner cannot afford to carry out work to improve it.

Larry Graham is being forced to close the last of his nursing and residential homes because he claims government changes to rules and regulations are making it impossible to run them as businesses.

Residents of his Sun Vale home in Felixstowe have been left heartbroken at the news that it is to shut on December 14 after two decades.

Sue Titshall said her 88-year-old mum Linda Hart, who has lived at the home in Mill Lane for four years, was desperately upset at being told she had to move somewhere else.

"She is resigned to it now but she is not very happy at all," said Mrs Titshall, of Trimley.

"We have now got to find a new home for her, and that is not likely to be easy. Care homes seem to be facing real problems – this is the second to close in Felixstowe recently, following the loss of the Golden Sunset.

"I have been trying to call social services but all I get is an answerphone and I don't know where my mother is going to go.

"She has been thoroughly happy at Sun Vale and really likes it there and had been hoping to stay there until the end of her days. The staff are great and look after her really well."

Mrs Hart, who has physical problems, went to live at Sun Vale after she was unable any longer to look after herself, even with a carer helping her, at her home in Roland House, Runnacles Way, Felixstowe.

She spent six months in St Clement's in Ipswich waiting for funding to be agreed and then a place to be found at a home.

"The problem was waiting for funding to be agreed and I understand there are many people occupying hospital beds just waiting for funding and places in homes – if that is the situation now, then what is it going to be like in years to come when we get old and even more people are living longer?" said Mrs Titshall.

Mr Graham used to own four homes for the elderly. Peacehaven in Felixstowe, for 13 residents, Seven Oaks at Trimley, for around 25 people, and Graham House in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, for 32 residents, but all closed because increasingly strict regulations and legislation made it impossible to keep them viable.

Percy Turner, manager for Mr Graham's homes, said the government was placing many owners in a difficult position.

"I think something has got to be done to stop homes closing because it is becoming absolutely ridiculous," he said.

"The legislation is making them very difficult to run as businesses, and a lot of these rules are beyond anyone's comprehension – as long as someone is happy in their home should be the main consideration.

"The new rules which are coming in April 2002 will mean work to be done, and the owners do not get grant aid and it all comes out of their pockets. It is putting great pressure on them and it is time someone said enough is enough."

Norwyn Cole, assistant county manager for the joint inspections unit at Suffolk County Council, said: "The home is working closely with the county council social care services so that residents are found appropriate homes to move to."

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