Daughter's plea over care home closure

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A WORRIED daughter has called for action to keep the last council-owned elderly care homes in Portsmouth open.

Portsmouth City Council will make a final decision whether to close Alexandra Lodge, in Wylie Road, Hilsea, and Longdean Lodge, Paulsgrove, on January 25.

And Maria Mullins, of Eton Road, Southsea, hopes a last-minute campaign could convince councillors to vote to keep them open.

Ms Mullin's 76-year-old mother, Audrey Mullins, lives at Alexandra Lodge.

Maria said: 'They are places where people live. They have communal areas and staff on hand all the time. Older people often don't like change and it would be very unfair to them to be moved at this late stage of their lives. They must stay open. I hope people will contact their councillors to make sure they know how people feel about this. She suffers dementia and relies on the staff at the home to do everything except feed her.'

She added: 'My mum really likes it. She has been there two and a half years. The staff are amazing, and she recently said the only place she wants to move to when she leaves is the grave. She doesn't want to be moved. No-one does and the home should stay open.'

Alexandra Lodge has a capacity of 50, though only 25 people live there now.

Longdean Lodge has 20 residents, and 20 beds for people who have just come out of hospital, or need respite care.

But Portsmouth City Council has provisionally agreed to close both, to make way for 125 extra care apartments for older people, 10 for younger people with disabilities, a 20-bed rehabilitation and respite facility, and eight family homes.

It could save the council 21.7m over the next 30 years, but councillors and care managers say it is not a cost-cutting measure.

Councillor Leo Madden, council leader for social care, said: 'This isn't to do with budget cuts or saving money, it's about how we look at social care.

'We have a growing elderly population but care homes aren't necessarily the best way for older people to live

'We appreciate people's concerns, but we have to concentrate on providing the best possible care for everyone in the city.'

Justin Wallace-Cook, the council's assistant head of adult social care, added: 'We can reassure all residents and their families that if the council decides to close Alexandra Lodge, we will carry out a full assessment of their needs and move them to a home that best suits them.'

If any residents of the lodge or their family have concerns they can call Mr Wallace-Cook on (023) 9268 8520.