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'Don't force us to leave Deeside care home'
“I HOPE my mum dies before she has to move.”
Those were the heart-breaking words of a son, terrified that his elderly mother will suffer if she is forced out of her care home which is under threat of closure.
Les Wyatt is campaigning to stop Hampshire County Council from closing Deeside, in South Ham, Basingstoke, where his 98-year-old mother Eileen is a resident.
The 63-year-old, from Buckskin Lane, Basingstoke, said: “The move will kill her.”
Mr Wyatt has helped to collect 2,500 signatures on a petition with other Save Deeside Care Home campaigners, and this will be presented to the council in October.
Mr Wyatt also fears for the health of the other 29 residents at the home, some of whom have dementia.
The Gazette went to speak to some of those residents, including Christine Crum, who broke down in tears when asked about the possible closure.
The 79-year-old, who has lived at Deeside for five years, said: “I love it here. The staff are lovely and the food is lovely. Everything is lovely. I get very tearful when thinking about it closing.”
For 86-year-old Billy Emptage, Deeside has been his home for 28 years.
He said he would be “very sorry” if he had to move, adding: “I like it here.”
Alfred Martin, 92, a father-of-one and grandfather-of-two, said: “I don’t want to leave. I have moved about six times and I’m happy here.”
But many residents, suffering from dementia, are unable to understand or comprehend the possible closure, and their families have taken the decision not to inform them, for fear of causing anxiety or upset at a time when their future is uncertain.
The council’s plans have also unnerved residents living opposite the home in Balmoral Court, where there is a collection of retirement bungalows.
Anthony Rivers, 71, a father-of-two and grandfather-of-two said: “This is a peaceful, quiet place for the elderly. Should they knock it down and put flats in, it will cause anti-social behaviour. If there’s flats going in, it will ruin this area.”
Shirley Roberts, 67, who lives with her 74-year-old husband Brian, added: “We are worried about the residents in there. Why should they move? It will probably kill them.”
The mother-of-two, who has 21 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, added: “I don’t think anyone should have the right to do what they are doing. People have spent their years here. To me, it’s like a death sentence.”
The county council wants to close Deeside because it argues that the £2.3million cost to bring it up to modern standards is too expensive.
Under the council’s plans, some Deeside residents would be moved to Oakridge Care Home, which is being extended.
The council also wants to build a second “Extra Care” home in Basingstoke to complement Newman Court, in Gershwin Road, Brighton Hill. A consultation on the closure plan is due to end on October 21.
Julie Sloan, press officer for Hampshire County Council, said if Deeside was to close, the council has a “well-established process in managing vacant properties to deter anti-social behaviour.”
She added: “This would include a full site survey to ensure appropriate measures are put in place in relation to the surrounding area. These measures could include CCTV as well as boarding up a vacant building.”
She said any changes in the use of the site would need to be approved by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
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