THE family of a 95-year-old dementia sufferer who lives in a Sunderland care home said today they fear for her future after the collapse of Southern Cross.
Alan and Hazel Mason, son-in-law and daughter of Evelyn Bell, who lives at Falstone Manor, Whitburn Road, Seaburn, say they have been left worried and concerned by the lack of a response over the past month.
Earlier this week it was announced that the ailing firm, the largest care home operator in the UK, is to close.
The business manages about 800 people in 14 care homes in Sunderland.
Mr Mason, 75, a former engineer, of Seaburn Dene, said: “If the home closed and we, the families, were made to move the people it would devastate them.
“It’s the owners themselves who are using the business as an entreprenuerial thing who are at fault, not the management and staff here.
“The owners have got out of their depths with it and there has been too much secrecy and uncertainty.
“It’s the lack of knowledge for me that is the problem.”
Born in Weardale, Mrs Bell, who has been a housewife for most of her life, has lived in Falstone Manor for two-and-a-half years.
She is the widow of Arthur and also mum to Barbara, of Newbottle, and Raymond, who lives in South Shields.
The Masons and other worried relatives have been been seeking reassurances from the management at Falstone Manors.
Some landlords of Southern Cross homes have indicated that they intend to take over the running of the homes or have found new operators for them.
Mr Mason also said that he was disappointed that politicians had not intervened to safeguard the futures of those in Southern Cross homes.
He added: “My biggest thing is that the Government have not stepped in with a back-up plan.
“We got these people in to do a job and they don’t do it.”
Mr Mason has now met management at Falstone Manor and said: “They have told me they have a strong feeling of about 85 to 90 per cent that this home will remain and no one will have to worry about.”
Mr Mason also stressed his support for workers at the home, saying: “They do a fantastic job which I know I couldn’t do myself.”
Southern Cross said they were unable to comment on each care home that they own when contacted by the Echo.