Carolyn Abrahams relates her experience searching for care home accommodation for her mother after the closure of Donisthorpe Hall.
The sudden closure of Donisthorpe Hall, Leeds’ only Jewish care home, left many relatives of the residents there in the difficult position of trying to find space in other care homes on short notice.
Lisa Baker, president of Leeds Jewish Representative Council, said of Donisthorpe’s closure: “The community was shocked and saddened. Many in the community felt like they didn’t know things were as bad as they were. It’s very sad for everyone, because we’ve prided ourselves on caring for the Jewish community from cradle to grave. For the foreseeable future, we won’t be able to do that.
“For many people the provision of a Jewish care home is a priority, but with the outreach work that’s done by the Leeds Jewish Welfare board, Chabad Lubavitch and other organisations, there is the ability to have kosher food provided and to organise things for the festivals.”
On the subject of the anger being directed towards the trustees Lisa added: “The trustees worked very hard to try and keep Donisthorpe open. We understand that people were very shocked and upset by the news, but the trustees worked as hard as they could to keep things going as long as they could.”
With the announcement of the closure, one resident’s daughter, Carolyn Abrahams, found herself trying to arrange care for her mother: “The closing of Donisthorpe was quite traumatic really because it happened so suddenly, without any notice. Everything seemed to happen very quickly with no way to stop it.”
Carolyn’s mother has particular needs that have made finding a new placement for her difficult: “She went to Donisthorpe because that was the Jewish home. We never really looked around for any other options. Obviously once I knew Donisthorpe was closing we were forced to look at other areas and other places. It’s been really difficult to find somewhere. When I asked the manager of Donisthorpe if she knew of anywhere else in Leeds that could provide Elderly Mentally Infirm (EMI) dementia nursing, which my mum needs, she said that she couldn’t think of anywhere that would take my mum. That was quite a scary thing to be told.”
Carolyn has now moved her mother into Thistle Hill in Knaresborough: “My sister and I went to see it, and the staff seemed to have specialised knowledge of dementia. They really knew what they were talking about.
“It took me five or six weeks of actively looking every day to find somewhere that my mum could stay in. It was a relief to find a nice place with lovely grounds for her to live at.”
Luxury respite and apartment living in later life
When considering respite options for a loved one there are a host of questions that circle around people’s minds – about food, personal care, and medication needs, alongside concerns about whether mum or dad will settle?
Will the staff understand what they need? When you’re the primary, long-term caregiver for a close family member, handing over the responsibility for their care can seem a daunting
When we consider care options in later life, we may immediately
think about a care home providing residential or nursing care.
However, local care provider Westward Care has developed an
alternative offer. Whilst residential and nursing care is available on a respite basis, it also offers respite at their Headingley and Roundhay locations in self-contained apartments with 24/7 on-site care and support if, or when, it’s needed.
Sharon Earnshaw, general manager at Headingley Hall explains:
“People contact us for a variety of reasons looking for respite. In
some instances, the carer needs to have a break. For others it might be that they have a family wedding or holiday that they are attending. We aim to make it a true home from home experience, so the carer can feel confident that respite will enhance the well-being for both of them.
“We encourage and assist all our residents to practice their
chosen faith and staff are happy to support where they can. Our staff are knowledgeable of the Jewish faith and festivals and are happy to incorporate these during our activities. We also support clients who have requested a kosher diet and can source this for our guests.”
Westward Care is running a respite promotion which entitles anyone booking a minimum of a two week stay, between January and March 2022 to receive a £500 discount.
Call today to find out more on 0113 331 4830 and quote JLife Respite offer. Or visit the website to find out more westwardcare.co.uk/respite-care-in-leeds