Daughter says her father’s life was transformed by Netherwood Day Centre

Jane Clinton is urging Camden Council not to close the popular resource

Jane Clinton’s father John was just 57 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease which attacks brain cells, causing the sufferer to experience memory loss, confusion, and mood swings.

For many years her mother Margaret looked after John herself, effectively acting as his sole carer unbeknown to Camden adult social services.

However, as his condition deteriorated she approached the council for help, and a year ago John began attending the Netherwood day centre five days a week, a resource Jane credits with transforming her father’s life.

“He just became a lot happier”, Jane explains, “The staff at this centre I must say are quite brilliant. Their understanding of the condition of Alzheimer’s and Dementia has been the best I’ve seen out of the ten years dad has had the illness.

“The centre is incredibly calming. You walk in and it feels like everything is OK.

“The carers find out about what people were like before the illness hit. This was really important to us – they view my father as a person, not just a patient with an illness. It gives the dignity back to people who feel their identity has been eroded somewhat.”

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John, who worked as an electrician and enjoyed doing The Telegraph’s cryptic crossword before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, is now 67.

If Netherwood closes he faces being moved to the Raglan day care centre in Kentish Town. While this is nearer to his home in Gospel Oak, Jane is concerned the facilities are not as suitable, and the disruption caused by the move could set his recovery back.

“It is not purpose built”, she explains. “At Netherwood he recognises people, gets on exceptionally well with his carer, and has the open space to wander around, which is very important to him. Raglan just isn’t the same.”