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Author: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Published on 15 September 2011 11:00 AM

Health Minister Edwin Poots has reaffirmed his commitment to supporting the independent sector in ensuring the highest quality care for the most vulnerable in society.

The Minister was speaking as he officially opened Bardan Cottage Senior Activities and Social Centre, a day care centre for older people in Newcastle. Bardan Cottage promotes a quality, person-centred approach to care, providing an environment that is not only homely, but is aimed at stimulating and entertaining clients, having been renovated and decorated with the care of people with dementia in mind.

Edwin Poots said: “In Northern Ireland, we have the fastest growing elderly population in the UK. With a high proportion of older people in care homes and many often remaining in acute hospitals longer than necessary, we must look at how to provide extra support so that, where possible, they can remain in their own homes.

“People with dementia can feel isolated and alone, but with the right care settings they can maintain a good quality of life and remain active and part of their community. Quality day care can provide a range of services to promote faster recovery from illness and help maximise independent living.”

The Minister was given a tour of the Centre, which is split into five main areas: the wet activity room, the dry activity room (cinema), library (quiet room), main lounge and dining room. Clients are free to use any room or spend time in the landscaped areas outside. The Minister said that the DHSSPS is currently developing a Dementia Strategy in which environmental design is recognised.

He said: “As well as improving awareness of dementia and better access to early diagnosis, a key aim of my Department’s Dementia Strategy is recognising the importance of environmental design in facilities for people with dementia. This has clearly been reflected in the development of Bardan Cottage, which has been designed to put the needs of people with dementia first. I have been greatly impressed by the excellent facilities I have seen today and congratulate all those involved in establishing this excellent day care facility.”

The Minister continued: “We are currently spending over £687million on supporting our elderly. This is the second largest area of expenditure after acute services. Over the last three years my Department has invested an additional £58million to deal with the demographic increase and help to support elderly people in the community.”

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575