Care home residents say moving 'worse than death'

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Ladycross Care HomeImage source, Google
Image caption,
Ladycross Care Home is one of seven facing closure under proposals by Derbyshire County Council

Care home residents in centres facing closure have told staff they would "rather die" than face moving.

Derbyshire County Council said seven of its care homes were "no longer fit for purpose" because of the poor building quality.

The authority has launched a public consultation on draft proposals that would see all seven close.

But relatives of some residents with dementia said they feared their loved ones would not cope with being moved.

Up to 235 residents would be moved to alternative care home accommodation if the seven homes were closed, but the council said nobody would be forced to start paying for their own care.

The homes due to close are Ladycross House in Sandiacre, Beechcroft in West Hallam, East Clune in Clowne, Holmlea in Tibshelf, The Spinney in Brimington, Goyt Valley House in New Mills and Gernon Manor in Bakewell.

Ladycross volunteer Dean Stevenson has been leading a campaign to keep it open but said residents were feeling "very low".

"Some are refusing. If it comes to it, they said they're not moving regardless, although they won't have much choice," he said.

"Some are saying it's their time to go [die]. They want to go because they don't want to move."

Image source, Janet Burns
Image caption,
Janet Burns doesn't think her elderly mother could cope with moving to another care home

Silvia Bonser, 89, has dementia and lives at Ladycross Care Home. Her daughter Janet Burns said she did not believe her mother would cope with a move.

And she dismissed claims by the council that the building needed "extensive work".

"It's just been all refurbished and it's lovely - new chairs, state of the art bathrooms, new kitchen," she said.

Another care home facing closure is Beechcroft in West Hallam, where World War Two Parachute Regiment veteran Pete Watkins lives.

His step-daughter Lynn Thornley said he suffered from dementia and the family was worried about the affects of a move on his health.

"He will lose familiar surroundings and may lose the familiar company and comfort and we don't know how this will affect him," she said.

Image source, Lynne Thornley
Image caption,
Pete Watkins has dementia and has been living at Beechcroft care home for three years

Helen Jones - executive director for adult social care and health at Derbyshire County Council - described the situation as "regrettable".

"We have a duty to provide older people with the care and support they need in safe surroundings fit for the 21st Century," she said.

"We consider seven of these buildings are no longer fit for purpose and do not allow older people to live with dignity."

The consultation, which runs until 24 April, also includes plans to refurbish three other care homes.

A petition against the closure of Ladycross has been set up by local Conservative MP Maggie Throup and several meetings and protests are planned.

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