A ground-breaking dementia care facility and care home has opened in Harrogate.
Vida Hall, in Starbeck, was officially opened on Friday, May 17, the eve of Dementia Awareness Week, with guests including Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones and families of the home’s residents.
The £6m, 70 bed development is part of family firm Vida Healthcare, run by father and son Chris and James Rycroft, from Knaresborough.
Managing Director James Rycroft said the opening was a “proud day” for his family. He praised his father and the company’s Chairman Chris Rycroft, and healthcare director Bernadette Mossman for their dedication to the project.
The MP welcomed the opening of a specialist facility in Harrogate. He said:
“We have the highest proportion of people aged 85 and over in the north of England, and one in three people in that age bracket suffer some sort of cognitive impairment.
“This is good news, because non of us wants to go early, but it is not a consequence free issue. We need to mare sure we can fund healthcare and residential care.”
Funding long term care is a major challenge, he added.
“It has been estimated that up to 3,000 people in the Harrogate District suffer from cognitive impairment, so this centre, with its state of the art facilities, is a significant step in the right direction.”
Ms Mossman, who joined Vida in September 2011, has been involved in the design and commissioning of the building with dementia sufferers in mind.
“The environment plays a large part in someone’s wellbeing,” she said.
Architect Dr Gareth Chalfont designed the home to make sure residents have easy access to the outdoors with three internal courtyards,three gardens and two balconies, she added.
Sheila Liddell’s husband George was the first resident to move into Vida Hall.
“He had 16 carers on his first day,” she said.
Deciding to move her husband to a care home after being his sole carer for more than 10 years was a difficult experience, she said.
“I am quite emotional about this because I looked at so many places and I didn’t dare put him in any.
“It was a traumatic position because I didn’t know how they would look after him.”
But the care at Vida Hall had been different “in every way” she said.
Fiona Reaveley is one of 200 people interviewed to work as carers at Vida Hall. With a background in caring for people with learning disabilities, she said she was “completely bowled over” with the enthusiasm of Bernabette Mossman and other staff at her new workplace.
“The trianing has been phenomenal, and the support from management is out of this world, something I have never experienced before,” she said.
There are currently 20 residents across the home’s four living spaces.