DEVON County Council is to close 20 residential care homes as part of a new plan to cut costs.
The closure will see around 100 jobs lost, while specialist dementia units in Torrington and Newton Abbott are the only two of their kind to avoid the axe.
Devon announced its decision today after months of extensive consultation about the futures of its care homes and day services.
20 of its 22 care homes are to close over the next 18 months, with long stay residents moved gradually into private care homes of their choice - 17 day centres will be retained, which will include 11 merging into four day centres and six more staying as they are.
The remaining 17 day centres will close, while centres in areas where there is no alternative provision will continue.
Plans to create day centres at Totnes and Tavistock will continue and a new specialist day centre for people with dementia in Newton Abbot is planned to open this year.
Devon says it is the only way that it can make the savings required of it by the Government, and still support the old and vulnerable.
The authority will cut its budget from £600 million in 2009 to £400 million in 2017 as a result of the Government’s austerity programme.
Councillor Stuart Barker, the Council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Council's care homes and day services, said: "Nothing will happen immediately. This is a process that will take time and we will do this with great care and sensitivity.
"In taking the decisions I want to ensure that everyone who is entitled to have a service from us gets it, be it residential care or a day service, and that they will continue to receive a service that meets their needs. "The phased closure of our care homes will be conducted over a period up to 18 months, and that process will be managed case by case with residents and their families.
"No one will within reason need to move until a place at the home they choose to move to is available. The speed of their move will, to a large extent be determined by the residents themselves and the availability of their choice.
"No one will move unless they are able to do so safely.
"We do have considerable experience in helping people find alternative residential care and we fully understand the anxiety that such change can bring to residents and families. "We will do everything we can to minimise that anxiety, following the very best national guidance and good practice in supporting residents through the transition.
"Regarding day centres, we need to recognise that there are far more people, eligible for our support, who choose not to attend day centres, least of all our day centres.
"We need to support them more, to maximise the opportunities that Direct Payments and personal budgets provides them. We will be working with the private and voluntary sector in local communities.
"We also need to make sure that everyone who chooses to attend day centres can still do exactly that together with their friends if this is their choice as well.
"Nothing will happen immediately and no one will be left without a day service or be financially worse off for it.
"Individual support from independent trained professionals will be provided to help people with more complex care needs.
"Where people are keen to keep friendship groups together, we will aim to do so. We will also arrange taster sessions to give people chance to visit other day centres without committing them."
The final recommendation report for the role of Devon County Council as a provider of day care services is available online at https://new.devon.gov.uk/dayservices.
The final recommendation reporter for the role that the County Council has as a provider of residential care services is available online at https://new.devon.gov.uk/residentialreview.