WORRIED relatives of dementia sufferers attending a Poole day centre earmarked for closure are demanding social care chiefs think again.
Borough of Poole plans to close Garland Road Day Centre and transfer services to Poole Day Centre, which is around one mile away.
The council cites an “increasingly unsuitable building” as a reason for the move, but relatives – who have launched an online petition calling for Garland Road to remain open – fear its closure will cause “immense distress to all those who rely on it.”
Rhea Doherty, whose 65-year-old mother, Susan Vine, attends Garland Road, explained: “My mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at 60-years-old, has been attending since January and the centre and its staff have been invaluable in helping her live, and enjoy life with Alzheimer’s.”
Rhea believes Poole Day Centre will struggle as a specialist dementia facility, and says families of dementia suffers currently attending Garland Road have been told previously that the Poole Day Centre could only help clients suffering with mild dementia.
Other relatives feel it will be inappropriate to have dementia sufferers attending Poole Day Centre alongside elderly people who do not suffer from any form of dementia at all, which will be the case.
Currently, all the patients at Garland Road suffer from some form of dementia.
Borough of Poole has told the Daily Echo that Poole Day Centre has been recently upgraded for people with dementia, and that all Garland Road staff will be making the move.
Health and social care portfolio holder Cllr Karen Rampton said: “Although we recognise that the move may be disorientating for some people, all the staff from Garland Road will be transferring to Poole Day Centre, so people will have the reassurance of familiar care staff and as much support as necessary to settle into the new day centre.
“Poole Day Centre has supported people with dementia for many years and we are confident that staff have the experience to support those moving from Garland Road.”
Garland Road Day Centre is scheduled to close this summer.
Call to the council
ANNE Lyon, whose 83-year-old husband suffers from dementia and attends Garland Road Day Centre, said: “My husband is settled down really well where he is.
“Poole Day Centre as a whole is for elderly people, so putting dementia people in with them is going to upset them and simply not work.
“I would say if the council cannot keep Garland Road itself going, then why can’t we have a separate room at Poole Day Centre just for the dementia patients or find another hall for them.
“I am very happy with the level of treatment at Garland Road Day Centre – why mend something that is not broken?”
Venue change could be ‘upsetting’
NIGEL Habershon, aged 74, who has suffered from dementia for three years, attends Garland Road six times a week.
His wife Alison, right, is angry about plans to move services over to Poole Day Centre.
She said: “Everyone at Garland Road is a dementia sufferer, while there are people at Poole Day Centre who do not suffer from dementia at all.
“I’ve become painfully aware that there’s a stigma in society about dementia – people don’t really want to be involved in it.
“I have heard that in centres where there is a mixture, the non-dementia people can actually be quite cruel to the dementia sufferers.
Mrs Habershon is also worried a change of venue could upset the “thriving” staff dynamic at Garland Road.
“There’s a good team spirit at Garland Road and it can take quite a long time to build up these things. Dementia patients are very sensitive to the environment and the stability of where they are,” she said.
“Poole Day Centre is an environment that I really don’t think is suitable.”