Newton Abbot to host new dementia care project
The first three sites to be redeveloped into multi million pound dementia care Centres of Excellence have been announced by Devon County Council.
Internationally acclaimed dementia research experts, the University of Stirling, and construction giants Midas, fully back the phase one list.
Davey Court in Exmouth; Mapleton in Newton Abbot; and Woodland Vale in Torrington, will be the first of up to ten Council care homes to be redeveloped in the £11.2 million improvement programme.
The homes currently provide residential care for older people with dementia.
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Market research, identifying where demand for dementia care in Devon is highest, and where appropriate care services already exist in the private sector, has informed the Council's choice of phase one locations.
The Council will announce further phases at a later date.
"The Centres of Excellence will provide high quality homes for people with dementia, but will also provide so much more than that," says Cllr Stuart Barker, who has Cabinet responsibility for adult care.
"They will also include a range of other services to support people with dementia and their carers, who may still be living within their local community.
"They'll be designed to include the latest technology, which will enable people with dementia to live safely, and as independently as possible, within their own surroundings.
"We're aiming to encourage dementia friendly communities, and we'd like these centres to become local hubs for these communities," he said.
Over the next three years, up to 10 of the Council's 23 residential care homes will be transformed into modern, state of the art, dementia-specific residential and non-residential facilities.
The Council this week informed residents in the three homes and their families and carers.
"Our priority first and foremost is our residents' wellbeing.
"All residents in these homes have dementia and therefore we are extremely sensitive to their needs.
"We'll be doing everything we can to minimise their anxiety, and that of their families or carers, because we understand the impact that change can have.
"We will not be asking people to move from the home while the work is ongoing, and once the centres are complete, our current residents will be able to carry on living there."
Plans for the three homes are being worked on, and the Council is hoping to share these with residents and their families, and neighbours, soon, prior to them being submitted for planning permission.
The remodelling is expected to include larger bedrooms, with some ensuite; communal areas and space to be used for outreach support to people in the community; and gardens.
Devon, which was applauded recently by the former Health Minister for its work on dementia, has one of the highest proportions of older people among its population, with the number of over 65s with dementia expected to rise from nearly 13,000 in 2011 to over 23,000 by 2030 - a rise of almost 80 per cent.
Current research suggests that Devon has a shortfall in specialist residential places for people with dementia, and the Council's plans, which will create overall around 300, will meet about half that unmet need.
The Council is making £800,000 a year available to private sector care providers to help them develop their dementia-specific care, and they are hoping that they - the private sector - can also help meet the need for specialist care.
The University of Stirling has described the Council's plans as 'groundbreaking'.
They and Midas Construction became partners with the Council earlier this year after competitive tendering.
Local Member for Exmouth, Littleham and Town, Cllr Eileen Wragg, said:
"Exmouth has a very large and growing population of older people and with it, more and more demand for specialist care of this nature. It’s really vital that there is local support available to meet this growing demand."
Local Member for Newton Abbot North, Cllr Anne Fry said:
"With the expected rise in the number of people with dementia, the new proposals for Mapleton are very welcome.
"Mapleton has a long record of providing excellent care. I am sure that same level of care will be continued through outreach support to benefit even more people In the wider community.”