First Minister hails new centre of excellence for dementia care

First Minister Carwyn Jones hailed “the pioneering model of care” at a new centre of excellence to look after people with dementia.

Mr Jones, who revealed it was a condition that had affected his family too, officially opened the Bodlondeb centre at the Pendine Park care organisation’s main site in Summerhill Road, in Wrexham.

The £4 million centre will create 100 new jobs and will be the hub for a comprehensive range of services for people with dementia.

After being entertained by a combined choir of residents and staff sing the Welsh national anthem, the First Minister said: “I welcome the development of the Bodlondeb centre, which will offer a new and pioneering model of care. It’s a wonderful place. It’s an honour to be here.

“What I’ve seen is a fantastic set-up for people with dementia – it’s light, it’s airy and it raises the spirits when you come in.

“There are so many things going on here as well

“First of all, yes, it’s great for jobs but secondly it’s a top class centre for people with dementia and of course their families. Dementia affects so many families and my own family included.

“It’s a good place to come if you’re visiting somebody here and it’s a place where I think people can come and feel at home in, you can’t ask for more than that.”

Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, who is also who is also Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, added her congratulations.

She said: “I am delighted to see Bodlondeb being officially opened. I know how much thought and planning has gone into this facility and I am sure the residents will appreciate this as they settle into their new home.

“The care provided across the whole of the Pendine Park organisation is second to none and Bodlondeb will be another area of care that will be much sought after in Wrexham.”

The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there are currently 39,000 people with dementia in Wales. This is set to rise by 35 per cent over the next 20 years with one in three people over 65 expected suffer a form of dementia.

Dementia is the single most frequent cause of admission to residential and nursing homes, and of the need for community care services in older people. Younger people can also be affected.

According to Professor Bob Woods, one of the UK’s leading experts on dementia, the new centre will be one of major regional importance.

Along with the Alzheimer’s Society, Professor Woods, who leads the Dementia Services Development Centre at Bangor University, helped develop the new model of care at Bodlondeb.

The centre has been designed to look after 64 people with dementia who need day care, respite care or residential services.

It is divided into eight small, family-like units so that the residents receive as much individual attention as possible while benefiting from the back-up of a larger organisation.

Earlier this year, proprietor Mario Kreft was awarded an MBE for his services to social care in Wales and Pendine Park  is celebrating is Silver Jubilee this year.

He said: “Our vision is to provide a world class community based resource for people with various forms of dementia.

“Bodlondeb will provide 24/7 services and they will include respite and day services, linked with our domiciliary care organisation, Pendine Park Independent Living and our in-house Smartcare Teaching Care Centre.”

“The official opening is a huge day for Pendine Park and it is such a huge honour for us to have the First Minister visit us.

“The whole team were thrilled that he was taking time out to see our vision of what a sustainable care community can be.

“We have to have services that are sustainable, we have got to be a country that is judged on how we support vulnerable people.

“I think as an organisation we have always been forward thinking because we have always wanted to push the boundaries.

“What’s important now is to develop sustainable services by working with partners across Wales.

“It’s important that we have a new approach for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“If we don’t make these services more affordable and at the same time better quality, then we are going to fail – and we can’t be allowed to fail.

“The message seemed to chime with the First Minister and I was very pleased with what he said in terms of putting real value into social care, therapies, art and all of the things that matter to individuals.

The new centre is dedicated to Mr Kreft’s grandmother, Mrs Rene Warburton, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in later life and Bodlondeb is named after his grandparents’ home in St Asaph Street, Rhyl.

Professor Woods said: “There’s a lot of research on what design features work well for people who have dementia.

“Mario and his team here have taken that on board and they’ve tried to implement as much of that as possible in this place.

“I love the outside space, the garden room and the roof garden. These spaces have tremendous potential for some really good interactions between staff and residents, and between residents and relatives.

“We’re seeing an increase of roughly a third in the number of people with dementia over the next decade so there is going to be a need for more support and care for people with dementia and their families.”

“I think that compared with the situation even 10 years ago we’re now expecting a much higher standard from our care homes, which is a good thing, and care homes like this one continue to raise the bar.”

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