Changes to day care services ‘leave elderly out in the cold’
PROPOSED changes to day care services run by a South Wales council could leave some elderly people “out in the cold”.
The stark warning comes as Vale of Glamorgan council extended the consultation period on its proposal to close a Penarth-based day care centre and transfer its occupants to a similar centre in Barry.
Elderly people using the facilities at Gardenhurst Resource Centre in Penarth and Rondel House Resource Centre in Barry will be re-assessed under national Fair Access to Care Guidance, meaning some will lose their access to the centres.
Sue Phillips, 54, of Penarth, whose mother Olwen, 87, has Alzheimer’s, said elderly and frail people depended on the centres for companionship and a hot meal.
She said it would hit not just the users but the often elderly people who acted as their carers and needed a break themselves.
She said: “Up until now if you are elderly and frail then you can go in and use the facilities at Gardenhurst.
“As I interpret them, the new guidelines only offer day care facilities to those with substantial or critical need, meaning many of the people currently using the centre, even though they are elderly and in many cases frail, will be left out in the cold.
“These people might not have any critical need but what many of them do need is a bit of companionship and a hot meal and, sometimes more importantly, their carers – who are often elderly themselves – need the vital respite the centre can offer.
“I gave up my job to help my dad, who is 86, care for my mum and we wouldn’t cope without respite we get from her spending two mornings a week at Gardenhurst.
“Isolation can also be one of the biggest problems for elderly and frail people, and with people living for longer and the numbers of elderly rising, this proposal by the council smacks of short-termism.
“Once it is gone it will never come back.”
Under the proposals, Gardenhurst would be used to accommodate adults with learning disabilities who are currently based in Barry, while Rondel House in Barry would be upgraded to improve accessibility and include bathing facilities.
Phil Evans, director of social services at Vale of Glamorgan council, said: “The aim is to ensure that as many people as possible, but especially the most vulnerable, can get the help and support they need to remain independent and lead fulfilled lives.”