I have had an extraordinary meeting discussing the support for those with dementia in our area. Without question, the current provision has begun to deteriorate and in my view is in danger of becoming chaotic.
Previously we had residential care homes, including excellent ones provided by the County council.
In her wisdom, Councillor Kay Cutts when in power tried to sell them off. She was unable to sell off James Hince Court, but closed down the day care services it provided for around 80 people.
Now the Health Trust tells me that they provide a service for 57 local people across Bassetlaw, which begs the question what about the rest?
I have documents that show that the level of staffing in our area has been downgraded and I have great fears that the governments agenda on dementia care is now leaving some very vulnerable people with no support. Already I have horrendous cases of people forced to put their loved ones into care homes because there is insufficient support to help them at home, and then sends them a bill for the cost of the care home.
What we need is the right for people to receive support to maintain the dignity and love of their parent, or spouse for as long as possible in their own home. This requires day services including that previously provided at James Hince Court.
All carers need a proper break and those in care the opportunity to get out. Day care is fundamental to this.
There are still services provided, but it is clear to me that there is no integrated strategy, the government’s agenda is descending into chaos, and that people’s lives are being ruined. I hope that the families of those impacted will shout out loudly before it gets too late.
One proposal that I am making is for A1 housing to start building again, with bungalows including some designed to cope with those with such need.
By building bungalows, family houses will become vacant and by building bungalows together it is much easier to provide a home based support.
I think that is enough demand for a thousand bungalows, for rent and purchase in Bassetlaw, and this should become our housing priority.
I have just returned from a visit to Africa with local churches- a kind of busman’s holiday, where we stayed in church accommodation and looked at development work.
One big lesson I brought back is how they are mobilising communities to look after their own areas. I like the idea of community warden’s who take responsibility for their street, perhaps in return for a reduced rent.
Providing eyes and ears for the community, but also leading in keeping areas safe and tidy, community wardens would work well here is supplementing existing services.
If African villages can do this, then surely we can here.
Another idea I have brought back is for lots of very small credit unions, perhaps based on schools, whereby people can put in money in order to save, but also take out small loans to set themselves up in work.
Our systems are far too big and bureaucratic. If someone wants to buy a ladder to become a window cleaner, then involvement in a small credit union would be the perfect way to do this.
Working as communities, rather than credit card bills with big banks is a way forward to Britain in our recession.
Perhaps some of churches would like to invite the Bishop, the vicar, the trainee vicar and myself to report back on our findings?