Elderly carers in North Angus of disabled adults are to be asked to help prepare personal emergency plans.
In the meantime the organisation behind the initiative is highlighting concerns about the limited facilities available at the respite care centre in Brechin - the only one in Angus.
Chairman of South Angus Parents of Adults with Learning Difficulties, Mr Peter Burke, explained that members of the group had growing concerns about what would happen to the adults they cared for in the event of an emergency - particularly in light of the fact that many carers of adults were becoming elderly themselves.
He explained that as a result of these concerns the group sent out an anonymous questionnaire to the carers of the 475 individuals with learning difficulties in Angus.
“This showed that the ageing population of parent carers in Angus was ‘critical’. Half of those who responded to the questionnaire were aged over 60 and 20 per cent were aged over 70 and one carer who responded is over 80,” he said.
“With the average age of those cared for approaching 36 it is clear that provision for local residential accommodation should be planned urgently.”
He added that most parents said they would not be able to cope within 10 years.
“We then set up a meeting with the people at Angus Council responsible for adults with learning difficulties and told them we needed an emergency plan put in place for these carers,” he said.
Mr Burke said it was also of concern to the group that the only current respite care facility serving the whole of Angus, Bearehill Care Home in Brechin, was not up to the job. Nor was there a standardised criteria of who was eligible for respite.
“Bearhill does not have all the necessary facilities and with only six bedrooms it is limited in how much respite accommodation it can offer,” he said, adding that there were also transport difficulties for people travelling, especially in the winter time.
A spokesman for Angus Council explained that a review of respite arrangements for adults with learning disabilities is included in the remit of the multi-agency working group led by the council to implement locally the Scottish Government’s ‘Keys to Life’ policy document. SAPALD, as partners in the group, have been asked to contribute to the review.