Glasgow & West Scotland

Red Cross house residents 'face life in elderly care'

Options Image copyright petition
Image caption Options for Independence is set to close and all residents must be out by the start of April

Some residents of independent living service Options for Independence in Irvine say they may be forced to live in care homes for the elderly.

Known locally as Red Cross House, it is set to close next week. Those living there must be out by 4 April.

The facility is one of only three in Scotland offering specialised care for young people and adults with a severe health condition or disability.

The British Red Cross has so far failed to find a buyer.

Last month the charity Sue Ryder said hundreds of under-65's were being looked after in care homes for the elderly because there is nowhere else for them to go.

Dr Danielle Farrel is one of the residents who has been told she will have to move into a nursing home unless somewhere more suitable can be found before Monday.

She has gained a PhD and set up her own business since moving into Red Cross House in 2008.

Image copyright University of the West of Scotland
Image caption Danielle Farrel is worried that she may have to live in a care home intended for the elderly

Dr Farrel, who has cerebral palsy, said: "There has been a repeated suggestion for me to move back with my elderly father to a rural town where I would lose all my independence.

"This is not suitable for me or my father. There has also been suggestion of a nursing home which is equally inappropriate.

"Many service users have now been or will be moved onto inappropriate accommodation due to the fact that they are unable to speak up for themselves."

Nursing homes

BBC Scotland understands that five residents have been placed in care homes whilst the local authority tries to find more suitable accommodation.

Seven of the residents have also been given their own tenancies.

Three other residents, all suffering from dementia, have been moved into nursing homes permanently.

Options for Independence was a state of the art facility when it was opened by the late Princess Diana in 1992.

It has 36 properties equipped with technology to help people who have just come out of hospital to learn to live independently again.

But it is the only residential care unit owned by the British Red Cross and the charity announced in December that it wanted to focus its efforts on care in the community instead.

The charity told the BBC: "We will continue our efforts to find someone to take over the centre at Irvine right up to our deadline date of 15 April.

"This has clearly been a very difficult time for residents and staff."

"In the meantime, we have been working with the various local and health authorities to help them move to suitable alternative accommodation according to their needs."

Dr Farrel said: "The closure of Options for Independence has highlighted the lack of fully accessible houses and the fact that it should be being addressed as a national issue as opposed to a local authority issue."

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