Care homes could be demolished for new dementia apartments

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TWO care homes in Portsmouth could be demolished to make way for state-of-the-art apartments for people with dementia.

As part of a £9.75m scheme the council will consider knocking down Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge, which are currently home to 40 residents, rather than spending millions trying to bring them up to scratch.

Hilsea Lodge, one of two care homes that could be demolished to make way for state-of-the-art dementia apartments

Hilsea Lodge, one of two care homes that could be demolished to make way for state-of-the-art dementia apartments

If the plans go ahead work on the site of Edinburgh House in Cosham will begin in October 2019 with provision for 50 apartments and facilities such as a shop, restaurant and hair salon.

Hilsea Lodge, on Gatcombe Drive, has been earmarked for apartments for people with disabilities although work on the site would not begin until 2020.

Angela Dryer, the council’s deputy director of adult social care, explained the need for change. ‘Currently we do not have the facilities the city requires to provide the best level of care for people with dementia or physical disabilities,’ she said.

‘We have assessed the need for care in the city and using these sites to create new homes is the best way forward.’

The two homes have provision for 65 residents between them, but haven’t been at full occupancy for a number of years as more people are opting to stay at home to retain their independence.

Head of social care at the council, Cllr Matthew Winnington, added: ‘We want to ensure that we are supporting people to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. To do this we need to ensure that there is good quality extra care accommodation which meets the changing needs of an ageing population.

‘I look forward to seeing these proposals and making a decision based on the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our city.’

Residents of Edinburgh House will have just under a year to find new homes, something the council is able to assist with. There will also be engagement meetings scheduled with residents and relatives to help with the transition.

Former leader of the council, Cllr Donna Jones, said: ‘Replacing Hilsea Lodge and Edinburgh house has been in the pipeline for around two years. It’s key that people in the city who can’t afford their own care and are dependant on the local authority to care for them have access to the highest levels of care in a building that is fit for purpose.

‘My concern is the astonishingly high overspend the council is currently running across all social care departments. I hope the Lib Dems have good strong viable income generation ideas they are pursuing to generate more income to pay for these multi-million pound overspends, otherwise I fear services will close which will be a travesty.’

There will be no staff redundancies as a result of the change.

A decision on the plans will be made at a social care meeting on November 20.

INDEPENDENCE for people with dementia is important but must be appropriate, an expert has said.

Jane Essery, Alzheimer’s Society services manager for Portsmouth, said: ‘People with dementia often feel happier if they can remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible, and should be supported to do so. People may feel more in control in a familiar place, or they may want to keep their routines and stay in their own community.

‘However, it’s important to recognise that people with dementia who live independently do not necessarily have a good quality of life. People who have dementia and live alone are at greater risk of social isolation and loneliness. Alzheimer’s Society believes that, if appropriate services are available, people with dementia living alone can maintain social contacts and overcome loneliness.

‘Supporting a person with dementia to do things for themselves increases the person’s wellbeing and helps maintain their dignity, confidence and self-esteem. This support can also help reduce feelings of helplessness and isolation which can follow after diagnosis. However, carers will need to balance the independence of the person with dementia with their desire to support the person to stay safe and well and any wider safety concerns.

‘People with dementia should be treated as individuals, with individual needs. Person-centred care involves tailoring a person’s care to their interests, abilities, history and personality. This approach helps to ensure people with dementia can take part in the things they enjoy and it can be an effective way of preventing and managing behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

‘In this sense, whilst it is important to empower people with dementia to be independent, the support provided to do so should remain person-centred and based on the individual’s needs and preferences.’