The Maesyffynnon Extra Care scheme has welcomed its first residents – and among them is Ann Boland who, alongside guide dog Flora, is now benefitting from the security of 24/7 support and additional independence.

Ann, 82, from Hirwaun, expressed an interest in moving into Extra Care as it provides a secure environment where around-the-clock help is available. Ann has a number of cardiac conditions and is visually-impaired – and while she was receiving a package of care at her previous home, she felt isolated.

Ann is well-known within the community as her charity fundraising for guide dogs has raised thousands of pounds – while she loves to socialise. Extra Care is now providing Ann with help for her assessed needs, but it also allows her to be independent, make her own choices and live the life she wants.

The new facility at Club Street, Aberaman, was delivered by Linc Cymru (Linc) and the Council, creating 40 state-of-the-art apartments for older people.

The three-storey building in Aberaman includes a café, hair salon, therapy room, dining room, lounge and activity room. There is also a car park and a garden area – to be maintained alongside Blaengwawr Primary School.

Ann became the first resident when she moved in on May 5 – with the help of Radis Community Care, Linc and the Council. She has settled well into her new home – a ground floor apartment with a garden, which she shares with guide dog Flora. Ann was delighted when she was reunited with a long-time friend, who she had not seen in some time, who has also moved into Maesyffynnon.

Ann said: “I’m over the moon with the flat and how spacious it is – what more could you wish for? The staff are there when you need them and I don’t feel lonely anymore. I can finally sleep in a bed after two years sleeping on the sofa, as I couldn’t manage the stairs after I had a clot on my heart. I’m really happy here and over the moon with my new flat.”

Councillor Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Adult Services, said: “I’m delighted that our fantastic new state-of-the-art facility in Aberaman is already making a big difference to local people, with four residents moving in during the first week of opening – and another five residents due to follow before the end of May.

“I’m also very pleased that Ann has settled in so well, and that her personal circumstances are now greatly improved. The advantage of Extra Care is that it provides people with support they need, while also helping to retain their independence. Ann has gone from being in a situation where she felt particularly lonely to one where she has flexibility, and without that isolation.

“That is why the Council has supported the substantial £50m local investment in Extra Care, which will be delivered in four further communities in the future. Construction continues to progress with the second of these facilities – Cwrt yr Orsaf – which will provide 60 new Extra Care beds in Pontypridd.”

Hazel Davies, Service Manager for Maesyffynnon, Linc, said: “We are pleased to welcome Ann to Maesyffynnon and it is wonderful to see her so happy with her new home. Having experienced feelings of loneliness and isolation, for Ann the Extra Care environment has proved a positive move for her wellbeing. It seems Ann and her guide dog Flora will be able to make the most of all their new home has to offer.

“Maesyffynnon is designed to enable independent living while offering the care and support individuals may need, and working in partnership with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has been critical in delivering this service in Aberaman. We look forward to continuing our partnership work, as well as welcoming more residents to Maesyffynnon in the coming weeks and months.”

Deepesh Patel, Director of Radis Community Care added: “To open and mobilise this scheme in the current circumstances has been a real challenge for everyone involved but just shows how committed we and our partners are to improving care provision for local people. I am so pleased that even at this difficult time that we have been able to start offering support and reassurance to people, and I know that this will be a valued community service for years to come.”

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