Essex County Council has identified older adults in Frinton-On-Sea living with learning difficulties and physical or complex health needs as the group most in need of suitable accommodation with care-providers in the town.
So great is this need that when a room becomes vacant shortly at Arundel House in Harold Road, the care-provider who runs the service has been asked to focus on catering to the needs of the over-35 age group.
Service manager Pat Ward and the team at Arundel House have done such a successful job in supporting its youngest service user Samantha, aged 26, that she is now able to relocate to Colchester where she will be supported to live independently in a flat close to her family.
Service manager Pat Ward said: “We shall miss Samantha, who has lived with us since she left school in 2009, but it’s great that we’ve been able to support her to develop her independent living skills to the extent that she is capable of moving out.
“The Council have now asked if we will focus on the needs of older people in Frinton – which is a good fit with our remaining service users – because there is such high demand in the town for the service we can provide.”
Most Arundel House residents have enduring health needs – including some with the early onset dementia often associated with a learning disability – and this makes independent living very unlikely for them.
However Pat and her team are keen to support their service users to live life to the full, and they regularly participate in activities such as sailing, golf and cycling. Meanwhile at home everyone is encouraged to be involved in the way Arundel House is run, through weekly menu-planning meetings, monthly residents’ meetings and involvement in regular health and safety committee meetings.
Pat Ward explained how each service user is encouraged to choose their own keyworker, who will spend time with them to help them achieve their goals and aspirations.
“Together they plan a package of care designed to meet their needs and wishes,” said Pat.
“Despite our service users’ high health needs, we focus strongly on supporting the people who live with us to develop their independence skills and have the best possible quality of life.”
The forthcoming vacancy is in a first floor en-suite bedroom, and a lift is currently being installed to improve accessibility.
The service, which accommodates ten people, occupies a large detached house with two dining rooms, a large lounge, a visitors’ room and a fully enclosed garden with a swing and a log cabin that can also be used as a sensory room.