Centenarian care home resident must move

Posted: 7th October 2014

RCJLawyers representing a 101-year-old woman, who argued that her death could be hastened if she were forced to move from the care home where she had lived for 15 years, have failed to convince the High Court that its closure should be blocked.

The woman, of Gujarati descent, had been living in the care home since she was a relatively sprightly 87 and was particularly attached to the Hindu temple there and the vegetarian meals prepared in the specialist kitchens. However, the 40-bedroom home had emptied around her and only a handful of residents remained.

When the local authority announced that the home was no longer viable and would have to close, the woman launched a judicial review challenge. However, the Court rejected claims that she had been promised a 'home for life' and that the home’s closure would violate her human rights.

Her lawyers argued that moving her would have a profound impact on her mental and physical well-being – and possibly bring about her death. However, the Court found that there were 'powerful reasons' why the home had to close, given the dwindling number of residents and tight budgetary constraints.

The woman spoke little English, but arguments that the council's decision failed to respect her cultural, linguistic, religious and culinary heritage were also rejected. Residents had been reassured that, if they wished, they would be moved to privately-run homes where the 'Asian lifestyle' prevailed.

There was no merit in arguments that the council had failed to pay 'due regard' to its duty to discourage discrimination and to ensure equal treatment of minority groups. There had also never been a 'clear, unambiguous' assurance given that the woman could stay in the home for the rest of her life.