‘This is not the right place for me’ – 21-year-old disabled man ‘abandoned’ in home for elderly

A Sheffield man with cerebral palsy says he has been abandoned in a home full of elderly people which is totally unsuitable for someone his age.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 1:57 pm
Updated Friday, 4th October 2019, 10:27 am

Tom Holmes, from Handsworth, is a normal 21-year-old lad who likes cars, social media and having fun, but because of his disabilities, needs 24-hour a day care.

Up until recently this has been provided by him mum Ruth at home, but after she could no longer look after him, he has been looking for somewhere to start his own life.

Tom Holmes. Picture Scott Merrylees.

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However, after being unable to access the funding he needs, Tom has been moved around various places and is currently in Mickley Hall in Totley, where he is the youngest resident.

Despite his physical disability, Tom is sharp and funny and desperately wants to be independent.

But he says he needs more stimulation from people his own age if he is to fulfill the high hopes his parents have for him, and that he has for himself.

He said: “This is not the right place for me. It is a care home for elderly people. I want more independence and to be able to do what I want to do.

Mickley Hall in Totley.

“I would rather be with people my own age. I only get taken out when my dad comes to see me and when I go home once a week.”

Spending so long around people so different to him who he can’t socialise with easily has left him on medication for depression, he says.

“I want to go out in the car a lot more but nobody is taking any notice of what I am saying. People here don’t understand what I want.

“I like football and cars and Facetiming my sister, but I haven’t seen her in a month.”

Tom used to play disability sports all over the country.

“I also have a dog - a King Charles Spaniel called Molly. She is the most loyal dog in the world and I miss her so much.”

Tom’s mum, Ruth, said her son used to enjoy going out and that it was ‘heartbreaking’ to see the change in her son since he moved to Mickley Hall.

She said: “It is a lovely place but Tom is just starting his life. He went all over the country as part of a disability sports team but that has been taken away now.

“If he could physically get up and walk out he would but he can’t. He is stuck there. He is in a small room with a hospital bed.

“Lots of the residents are in bed all day. Sometimes he stays in bed all day too. He says he doesn’t see the point in getting up.”

Ruth said that Tom was originally told the care home would be a temporary situation, but he has now been there since February.

The current problems arose when Tom moved from children’s to adult social care, after which the provision he received became ‘inconsistent’, she says.

“We have always encouraged him to say what he thinks and be independent,” said Ruth.

“Can you imagine not being able to do what you want to do? To go to the park for a walk or the pub with his friends. To choose what you want for your tea.”

“A few years ago he lived life to the full and was happy. He is young and has aspirations.

“Now above he lays in a hospital bed or in his wheelchair counting each hour because he feels so low.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “I was so sorry to hear that Tom in unhappy in his respite placement at Mickley Lane.

“Our aim is to make sure all individuals live in the right place and with the right care for their needs.

“Finding suitable accommodation and care and support provision can be challenging but we do everything we can to meet people’s needs as soon as possible.

“Officers are working hard, in consultation with Tom and his family, to find a permanent, more suitable home for Tom, where he can live a full and happy life as independently as he can.”