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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Alice, 108, 'starved herself to death'
Mrs Alice Knight
Alice Knight (courtesy EDP)
A 108-year-old woman has died after it was claimed she starved herself to death because she was unhappy about moving to a new care home.

The family of Alice Knight said she lost the will to live and stopped eating after the move from Flordon House in Norwich.

The Norfolk home shut down a month ago and Mrs Knight was transferred to the Laurel Lodge home, also in the city.

Her daughter, Mary Wilkes, said: "She gave up on food and drink within a week of moving in, they had to put the spoon in her mouth and she spat the food out."

She said staff at her new home, the privately-owned Laurel Lodge home, did all they could for Mrs Knight.


All she would want to do was sleep and not look at the family, she wouldn't even look at me

Mary Wilkes, Mrs Knight's daughter

Mrs Wilkes said her mother - a great-great-grandmother - had been relatively healthy for her age.

"Before she could wash and dress herself, she would put on her jewellery in the afternoon and make herself look nice, she would get her walking frame and whizz about," said Mrs Wilkes.

After the move, Mrs Wilkes said her mother would not let the doctor examine her.

"All she would want to do was sleep and not look at the family, she wouldn't even look at me," she said.

Campaigners for the elderly are worried too many care homes are closing because they are unable to meet their current costs and impending new regulatory standards.

By 2007 all residential care homes in England will have to meet standards enforced by the new National Care Standards Commission.

Care standards

Figures from Help the Aged show 50,000 long term places in homes and residential schemes have been lost in the last five years.

A spokesperson for Help the Aged said the case highlighted the fact too many elderly people were forced to move out of their care homes when they were vulnerable.

"There is a crisis in the funding of social care across the board, meaning that many homes cannot make ends meet, let alone invest more money in meeting the new care standards," he said.

Sheila Scott, chief executive of the National Care Homes Association, said: "This organisation has been warning for two years about the scale of the crisis that's going on with home closures and what that means in terms of human tragedy for individuals.

"Alice Knight is the face of that tragedy."


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See also:

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