Possible new centre for dementia sufferers in Sid Valley

A new centre for dementia sufferers in the Sid Valley was not ruled out at a meeting with health bosses last Wednesday.

Sidmouth’s Memory Caf� invited Devon County Council (DCC) representatives to discuss their �11.2m budget for adult care.

Speaking at Twyford House, councillor Stuart Barker – who is responsible for around half of the county’s budget – and head of social care provision, Malcolm Vede, revealed their intentions to build nine or 10 centres of excellence for dementia care in the county.

The nearest new centre will be in Exmouth, and only two other locations have been chosen so far, although they will be built where the need is greatest.

Cllr Barker said: “We have to put provision where there is none available.”

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Memory Caf� manager John Summerside lamented the loss of a previous centre for dementia sufferers at Stowford Lodge.

Dr Louise Knight, from Sidmouth Hospital, said: “We have more than our fair share of elderly people, and more than our fair share of people with dementia.”

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The centres are being built to meet half of the 600 bed shortfall in Devon – the council expects the other 300 to be provided by the private sector.

DCC wants to build on the success of private ventures such as Memory Cafes in delivering care to those who need it, while keeping the cost off the state.

Cllr Barker expressed his wish for Memory Cafes to become social hubs for those with memory conditions in order to maintain their quality of life.

Both sides agreed that the support groups should bring together respite care, activities, and physiological and psychiatric health checks.

However the Twyford House staff rejected the proposal that they should start charging, saying ‘it would be very sad’.

Cllr Barker said: “With Personal Care Allowances, people can choose how to spend their money - Memory Cafes are wrong not to charge.”

There are now 45 of the care group across the country – but the county council only hoped that 27 would be set up.

The idea was spread through Devon by rotary clubs, and has received interest from Rotarians in such distant locales as Portugal and Montana.

Actor James Pellow provided classic entertainment at the meeting for his third year, and fitting it in between performances of An Inspector Calls at the Manor Pavilion.

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