Severe lack of residential care places in Royston for people with dementia

PUBLISHED: 09:18 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:15 11 May 2010

Cllr Fiona Hill

Cllr Fiona Hill

ROYSTON is suffering from a severe lack of residential care places for elderly people with dementia. The warning comes from Age Concern, which is worried by the long waiting lists facing people wishing to check loved ones into residential homes in Crow

ROYSTON is suffering from a "severe" lack of residential care places for elderly people with dementia.

The warning comes from Age Concern, which is worried by the long waiting lists facing people wishing to check loved ones into residential homes in Crow Country.

Dawn Martin, team leader from Age Concern, told last week's meeting of North Herts district council's Royston area committee: "There are three homes in Royston which can care for dementia patients properly. One of these has 14 places, all of which are full, and 13 people on the waiting list.

"Spaces only become available when someone dies, so with an aging population this is becoming a severe problem."

Ms Martin explained that the shortage is occurring because of national funding cuts, which mean less dementia nurses are being employed.

She said: "Age Concern provides help and support where we can, but without the care home places being available it's a very difficult situation."

As part of a presentation on the problems facing the elderly, Ms Martin also explained that many dementia cases are not diagnosed, meaning they cannot access help and funding.

"We have about 15,000 people in the county with dementia, but only 4,000 of them are diagnosed. A lot of them are very good at hiding the problem, and unless they are recognised as officially having Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia then they are helpless," she said.

Cllr Fiona Hill, chairman of the committee, said: "I know we have some excellent nursing staff in Royston, but it seems there has been a cut in the staff to patient ratio.

"We must find out if anything can be done to help these very vulnerable people in our community."

The committee resolved to look into the situation further.

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