Home changes are tough for residents

MOVING house is stressful for anyone – we last did it 14 years ago and said then that they’d have to be a very good reason for us to repeat the experience!

But it is that much more difficult for the very elderly, especially for those suffering from dementia, and their families.

So the decision by the county council to transfer its residential homes to the private sector company Care UK which plans to build new, larger, units to replace them is bound to unsettle current residents.

However it is necessary to build new care homes and update the facilities that are associated with them – and when you do that there are bound to be those who are unsettled by the process.

Back in the 1980s I had an elderly relative living in a county council care home that was being closed. He moved to a new home built in a different town about 15 miles away.

He didn’t want to go and was very upset about leaving his home, but when I saw him about a month after the move he was like a dog with two tails – he couldn’t really believe he would be able to stay in home as comfortable as that and lived there happily until he died about five years later.

Many people would prefer the homes to have remained in public ownership – but given the public sector squeeze and the need to cut costs that was never a realistic option whichever party was in power at Endeavour House.

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And with the projected increase in the number of people suffering from dementia in Suffolk over the next few decades it was clear that changes would be necessary.

Homes like that in Crabbe Street in Ipswich have provided a secure residence for hundreds of people over the years, but it is right that new centres are built for the 21st century.

And if the changes are not made now, they will have to come in future years by which time existing homes really will be out of date.