Anguish as ‘lifeline’ Alzheimer’s Society service in Sunderland is set to close

Members of a Sunderland daycare unit have been left devastated by the announcement it will close.

Saturday, 26th January 2019, 8:00 am
Sandra Falkner with her late husband, Billy, who she cared for during his 13-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

The Alzheimer’s Society has announced it will be shutting its centre in the city’s Hylton Road this summer, blaming the move on funding shortages.

But, Sandra Falkner, who has been a member of the centre for more than ten years, said she is going to start a campaign to fight the plans to close it.

Sandra Falkner outside the Alzheimer's Society centre in Hylton Road, Sunderland.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 70-year-old first became involved with the centre when her late husband, Billy, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his early 50s.

She said the Hylton Road unit became a lifeline for her and Billy, who sadly lost his battle with the disease four years ago at the age of 67.

Now, Sandra, who is still a regular user of the centre where she supports others going through similar battles, said she will be doing everything she can to stop the closure.

She said: “This is the only day care facility for people with Alzheimer’s in Sunderland and it covers a massive area.

“People can be picked up on a morning, go to the centre where they are cared for, the staff are all really lovely, and do activities and then go home on an afternoon.

“Those few hours break are vital for the carers, it is a lifeline.”

Sandra said around 30 people with the illness are registered with the centre and that those she has spoken to are devastated by the latest announcement.

She said it is especially important for people like Billy who are diagnosed with the illness at a young age and for their families as well.

Sandra said: “I feel like we are bottom of the list in this region, Sunderland seems to be losing everything and I don’t see why we should.

“This situation is horrendous and I need to campaign to keep the centre for all those who need it.”

Danielle Cooper, Area Manager for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “After careful consideration, Alzheimer’s Society has made the difficult decision to close the Day Support Service in Sunderland on 30 June 2019.

“We always try and avoid closures wherever possible. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, given the potential impact on people affected by dementia.

“The funding we receive from the service does not cover the full running costs which we have been subsidising for a number of years. Unfortunately, this is not sustainable in the long term for the charity.

“We are grateful to all the staff and volunteers who have worked for the Day Support Service over the years and have done their utmost to support and care for people with dementia.

“Our staff will be meeting with those affected individually to discuss their needs and other local options for support, including Alzheimer’s Society services.

“We know that change can be difficult but we are committed to giving the service users and their carers the best possible support at this unsettling time.”

Anyone affected directly by the closure can call the charity’s office on 0191 564 0890.