Two Stroud care homes are set to close due to falling demand and outdated dementia facilities.
Southfield and Wyatt House, both based in Stroud, face having their doors close for the last time this year with a plan to move residents out by Christmas.
Gloucestershire County Council, the landlord of the two care homes, said demand for places is falling across the county as more people are choosing to be supported at home.
The county council’s cabinet will determine whether to close the two care homes at a meeting on July 24.
If senior councillors approve the closures, it would mean four care homes would have shut down in a year in Gloucestershire.
Southfield, in Park Road, and Wyatt House in Mathews Way, Paganhill, are both managed by The Orders of St John Care Trust, which runs them as part of the Gloucestershire Care Partnership.
Staff and residents at the care homes, and their families, were sent letters informing them of the potential closures yesterday.
There is a 10 to 15 per cent vacancy level across care homes in the Stroud district, the council said, adding that Southfield consistently has more than 15 per cent of its rooms empty with forecasts indicating further decline in the years ahead.
Wyatt House, which specialises in dementia nursing care for the elderly, was built nearly 50 years ago, and the council said it cannot offer the more modern and appropriate specialist care available at other homes in the area.
Once the county council has heard from residents and their families, and the care homes have spoken with their employees, the GCC cabinet will be asked to decide whether or not to close the homes.
If the closures are approved, residents will be assigned a dedicated social worker to help them and their families through the transition.
The Orders of St John Care Trust will be providing support to any and all impacted employees to access one of the many vacancies that they have across the county.
Councillor Roger Wilson, cabinet member for adult social care commissioning at the county council, said: “These are proposals that reflect what we know older people truly want and that is to stay at home for as long as possible and be supported there.
“I understand that this news is likely to cause some concern to residents and their families and that is why we are offering to meet with them to discuss things in detail and hear their views, before any decision is taken.
Care homes Trevone House, in Gloucester, and Townsend House, in Mitcheldean, closed last year for the same reasons.
Southfield care home has 34 beds in total and Wyatt House has 30.
The nearest The Orders of St John care homes to them are The Elms in Stonehouse and Henlow Court in Dursley.
Dan Hayes, Chief Executive of The Orders of St John Care Trust, said: “We have worked with Gloucestershire County Council to consider the challenges at these homes at length and sadly we have been unable to find a solution that keeps these two homes either financially viable or fit for purpose.
“We will of course work with the council to engage with residents, their families and our employees to hear their views, and to minimise any uncertainty caused by this proposal.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Iain Dobie (Leckhampton and Warden Hill), spokesman for adult social care, said: “We are very worried about these latest revelations emerging from the County Council’s dwindling adult social care services. With my wife formerly being a matron at Wyatt House, I can appreciate how anxious the residents and families will be to lose the caring atmospheres of these two homes.
“However we are also concerned about what this means for the elderly demographic in Stroud, since the closure of two of the town’s care homes at once means it loses over 60 rooms and will likely lead to more people being housed further afield.”
Staff, residents and their families were given notice of the planned closures, in order to discuss their concerns with representatives of the Partnership, at a meeting held this morning.
Stephen Hobday, whose mother suffers with dementia and is a resident of Southfield, was not convinced by the assurances offered.
“It’s awful. My mother lived most of her life on a road around the corner and the location is convenient for family,” he began.
“If occupancy rates should be 90 to 95 per cent and at Southfield it’s currently 83 per cent, that’s only a deficit of three residents,” he commented.
“It’s interesting that the Partnership is not proposing to renovate or build a facility for the area,” he added further.
“They argued that people increasingly want to stay in their own homes, but what about the sense of community and constant companionship that a care home offers?”
“They say the decision will be led by the residents and staff as to how their final decision will be made, but closure seems a forgone conclusion.”