Watershed in care of elderly unveiled

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A unique scheme, the first of its kind in the country, has been unveiled by a Yorkshire council to create specialist dementia care units to cope with soaring demand.

The watershed in care for York is using a model employed on the Continent and will create two new facilities to allow residents the chance to live in self-contained households while being provided with a high level of care.

It is the first council-run scheme of its kind nationwide, and borrows from a similar project established in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

York Council’s cabinet member for health, housing and adult social services, Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, said: “In difficult financial times, despite Government funding cuts, the council is transforming its care offer in the city...when other councils are having to close or sell their homes.”

Plans were unveiled in 2011 for a review of the council’s care homes amid predictions the number of people aged over-65 is expected to increase by nearly a quarter in less than 10 years. The review represented the biggest overhaul of York’s care services for half a century after the existing facilities were built during the 1960s and 1970s.

The two new facilities are expected to cost up to £30m to build and will be created at Burnholme in the east of York and Lowfield in Acomb in the west of the city. Both sites are expected to open in 2016 will provide a total of 162 places, including 20 for respite care.

There will be a phased closure of the council’s existing seven care homes that year, with residents moved into the new facilities. The two new sites will each include 72 separate properties which will be available to buy, with a quarter of them being offered as affordable homes. These properties will give the elderly the chance to live independently, with the option of transferring to the dedicated care units if their health deteriorates.

email paul.jeeves@ypn.co.uk