Families whose loved ones are resident at Thackeray Place have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” a proposal that, if adopted, could close the residential home.
The Western Trust Board unanimously agreed yesterday to proceed with a 13-week consultation into the proposal to close Thackery and three other care homes in Derry and Strabane. Consulation starts on June 1.
Josie McCann and her sister Marie McLaughlin say if Thackeray Place closes it will destroy their mother, Letty. She is 99 years old. They say she has worked hard all her life, and is paying for her care. In her 100th year, the sisters say they will not be moving their mum.
After what was described as a “heated meeting” with Trust officials on Tuesday night, Josie said the one question everyone asked was ‘why?’.
“We were told all these things about the rooms and the building. We understand there is planning permission granted for a 50-room extension at a private care home outside Limavady,” she said. “Isn’t that suspicious?
“Of course, I am angry, fit to be tied. It is a slap in the face, and everybody is angry. What they’re doing is serving an eviction notice to our elderly. That’s what it is, I feel.”
Letty’s room in Thackeray is cosy, and its walls adorned with pictures of her family and grandchildren. Personal mementoes are everywhere. Josie says her mum is happy in Thackeray, and that is where she should stay.
“While I’m standing on two feet, I am not moving my mother,” said Josie.
“I am not doing it. My mother is in her 100th year and I don’t know how much longer she will live, but I would like to think she will live in peace and contentment.
“But, if they proceed with this, she will live her last months, or whatever time she has left, in distress.”
Sisters Liz McPeak and Helen Houston from Limavady say their 83-year-old mum Aeileen Hunter would be devastated if she has to move. She has been a resident at Thackeray for a year and a half. “
To move her, well I think it would put her back, and she would deteriorate,” said Liz. “It is devastating. We have other siblings but they live in England, so it’s up to us to fight it, but I think they are going to close Thackeray.”
Helen says closure of Thackeray would also be a huge blow to the town.
“Not just for residents, as is it their home, but there are others who come here and it is part of their life. We’ll fight it. That’s all we can do,” said Helen.
Ken Logan says his mum, 82-year-old Sarah Logan from Dungiven is petrified of what could happen.
“People have worked hard, paid their taxes and they reach this stage in life and this is the way they’re treated.
“When pressed tonight (Tuesday) about why there would be a recommendation to close Thackeray, the answer was the room dimensions aren’t right and the environment isn’t right, but the home is almost full and there is a waiting list for it.
“There is a need for it, but they just make a sweeping decision, and then say it’s going out for consultation.
“Just watch the outcome of this,” Ken continued. “Government machinery and policy are against us. Care? What kind of care is it when you see elderly people devastated.”