Henfield Day Centre closure would be ‘devastating’

A full time carer fears that quality of life for her and her husband will ‘diminish’ if the council decide to close a local day centre.

Rosemary French, 67, has been taking care of her husband Graham since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007. The Henfield Day Centre in Hewitts, just off High Street, takes Graham twice a week to give Mrs French some respite.

JPCT 220414 S14170856x Henfield Day Centre closure. Rosemary and Graham -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140422-144742001

JPCT 220414 S14170856x Henfield Day Centre closure. Rosemary and Graham -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140422-144742001

“He attends the day centre on a Monday and Friday which has given me an opportunity to have a break to catch up with essential tasks of daily living and have some life of my own which I am unable to do when caring for my husband 24 hours a day,” she said.

But the centre is now under review by West Sussex County Council and could face closure due to financial restraints and a drop in demand.

“If the Day Centre was to close it would dramatically affect my wellbeing and ability to carry on as his sole carer and would diminish the quality of life for both of us, possibly resulting in him going into residential care in the future,” said Mrs French.

In the consultation document by the director of adults’ services, Amanda Rogers, it states: “Despite significant remodelling of the service in recent years, demand has declined and occupancy at the Henfield Day Centre is consistently low.

“In addition, greater emphasis on personalisation, which gives individuals more choice and control over the services they use, combined with the requirement to maximise value for money has prompted this review.”

The report recommends that the Cabinet Member ‘approves the commencement of a consultation process’ and look at detailed options regarding the future of council-funded day services.

In the event of a possible closure, Mr and Mrs French have been advised by the council to seek an alternative day centre at Glebelands in Shoreham, but the Henfield Common North resident said it would be too far and a dramatic change for her husband.

“It would be devastating. The stress involved with moving to a new environment with new routines, new staff and different users would be huge, and stress can only make the whole condition much worse. ”

The forecasted number of dementia cases across Horsham and Mid Sussex for 2011/12 was 3,247, with a diagnostic rate of 4.3 per cent, according to figures from the local clinical commissioning group. By 2014/15 cases are due to climb to 3,459.

Mrs French said: “We are constantly being told in the media how many people will have dementia in the future and how the care of sufferers and their carers is being given considerable weight by the Government and yet here in Henfield, the day centre is being threatened with closure in spite of Henfield being a dementia friendly community.”

Know Dementia spokesperson, Jennie Morrison-Cowan, said: “With the new Care Bill going through Parliament, which raises, once again, the need to support family carers, the closure of the centre would deprive them of the respite they so desperately need.”

A public consultation meeting on the Review of Services at Henfield Day Centre will take place on Monday, April 28, 7 pm at The Steyning Centre.

The County Times contacted Henfield Day Centre but no response was received before going to print.