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Joy and relief for elderly care home residents

Antrim's Rosedale Residential Unit resident Lillian Watt photographed with her daughter Eleanor Fee. Photography by Hugo@Digital Image Photography.

Antrim's Rosedale Residential Unit resident Lillian Watt photographed with her daughter Eleanor Fee. Photography by Hugo@Digital Image Photography.

 

The daughter of an 83-year-old care home resident has spoken of her mother’s delight at news of a surprise reprieve for Rosedale.

Eleanor Fee’s mother Lilian Watt has been a resident in Rosedale, Antrim for four years, “a place she now really considers her home, with flowers outside her bedroom window and a bird box”.

On Wednesday, residents in Rosedale, Thackeray Place in Limavady, Pinewood in Ballymena and Westlands in Cookstown were the first to be given the news by DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots that they would not be asked to move out of their residential care homes.

The U-turn comes after massive protest was raised last April when it was announced the four had been earmarked for closure along with other homes in the Western and Northern health trust areas.

Mrs Fee said: “My mum is in good form now. She has led a very active life and has four of a family, although I am the only one left in Northern Ireland. She is not terribly active now but very alert in her mind.”

The 58-year-old said her mother had been “very worried” after being told the home was due to close.

“We noticed she didn’t want to go out as she felt she might not get in again. As I said to Mr Poots, I class the staff in there as mummy’s extended family because they are very good to her. If I can’t be there, I know that they are there, although I do pop in every day.

“Edwin Poots came to the home on Wednesday and answered as many questions as he could and hopefully it will stay open and this is not just another gimmick.”

Speaking on Thursday, Josie McCann, whose 100-year-old mother Letty Doherty is a resident in Thackeray Place in Limavady, said she found out the “great news” on a daily visit to see her mum.

The 74-year-old from Limavady said: “Mr Poots told us he had considered the report and that he would be keeping Thackeray open. Everybody was stunned, even the staff.”

She said her mother did not appreciate the news “as it is above her head now”.

“The other residents were really delighted and relieved,” she said.

“I feel a great relief because it is such a beautiful home. I said to the Minister it is a real template of how a home should be run. Thackeray is an ideal place, the residents are happy, it is a home for them and there is a community spirit there.

“Thackeray is part of the Limavady community where older people are stimulated all the time. I really don’t think my mother would have survived a move to another home at her age.”

 

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