Families fear closure of dementia care homes in Kirklees due to council cuts

Families of residents at two specialist dementia care homes in Kirklees say they dread the news that they will shut, after the facilities were put at risk due to council cutbacks.

Kirklees Council has set out plans to save reduce spending to fill a black hole in its budget of £47 million this financial year.

As a result Castle Grange in Huddersfield and Claremont House in Heckmondwike are both at risk of closure.

Elaine Blackburn, 79, suffers from the condition and after two previous homes and multiple health assessments, is now at Claremont House. Her daughter Colette Senior says she is finally happy.

Elaine's family say the news her care home could close fills them with dread

She said: "That's where she's just been the most settled, the happiest, the staff are just so caring.

"It's quite touching to see how they engage with all the residents - they get down to eye level, no matter what the dementia stages are, you can tell they all just care."

Families have been told both care homes could close, with residents moved to alternative care.

A petition against the closure of Castle Grange has now received over 800 signatures.

Castle Grange in Huddersfield is also at risk of closure

Elaine's other daughter Donna Mallinson said: "How do you tell somebody in that situation that this room that they see every day and these people that they know and trust aren't going to be there any more? How do you explain that to someone that can't speak?

"It just fills us with dread. Because my mum's health is failing rapidly and we obviously think a move would...she just would not be able to cope with it.''

At a meeting on Wednesday 13 September Kirklees Council passed its medium-term budget strategy to balance the books by making services more efficient and growing the economy.

Seven leisure centres in the district are also at risk of closure to save the council money.

At the meeting Cllr Jackie Ramsay, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said: "We understand that to achieve a balanced budget which is our legal duty next year we need to make some really difficult decisions.

"And as a responsible administration we will have to make them. It doesn't make it easy. In fact it's going to be painful. And this is the painful reality of living in local government at the moment."

Elaine's daughters Colette and Donna say their mum has been at their happiest at Claremont House

But The Alzheimer's Society say support for those with dementia is the wrong area to cut.

Head of Knowledge Tim Beanland said: "Dementia is the biggest health and social care problem of our time. the condition devastates lives and it's affecting more and more people as we get older.

"So it absolutely should not be the first thing that's looked at when local authorities are faced with cuts."

Families of both care homes are due to meet with the council to discuss the situation on Monday 18 September.