No help for the aged: Home carers axed for our old and most vulnerable

Elderly people are suffering as £1billion is slashed from councils

 

Cuts: Care funding is being slashed across the country

 

For our most vulnerable pensioners, home care visits are the lifeline that allows them to live with dignity.

But the Sunday Mirror can today reveal they have become the latest service to fall victim to the ­Government’s funding axe.

A fresh wave of cuts has led to the price of having a carer visit a sick or elderly person soaring by 10 per cent.

Carers help the sick, frail and ­elderly get up in the morning, get washed, dressed and fed. They also lend a hand with household chores and ­shopping.

But councils, who set the fees, say the savage £1billion cut from central Government has left them with no choice but to pass on price hikes.

That means many are now being asked to find money out of their ­pensions or disability benefits if they want the visits to continue.

The cuts are a new attack on ­pensioners’ quality of living and come after the “granny tax” in the Budget – a freeze on age-related tax ­allowances which means 4.5million pensioners are losing up to £323 a year.

The UK Homecare ­Association says it is dealing with a rising number of cases of pensioners whose visits have been cut.

They include a 90-year-old man from Yorkshire whose visits were slashed from 28 a week to just seven – saving the council £230 a week. He now has to regularly call friends in distress.

Another victim is an 81-year-old lady from East Anglia with ­Parkinson’s disease. The 14 hours of care a week she used to get have been halved. ­Carers say it means her condition is now getting worse.

And a 90-year-old woman from the south-west of ­England has ­complained at ­having her care slashed by 40 per cent this year. Its led to her skin ­condition getting worse because she is unable to apply the lotion she needs.

Yesterday Liz Kendall, the Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, urged the Prime Minister to step in.

She said: “These increases in home charges are a stealth tax on the most vulnerable people in our society. These services are a lifeline for older and disabled people and crucial to help them stay living independently in their own homes. The Government is out of touch – David Cameron must act urgently to tackle the care crisis.”

Six weeks ago a Sunday Mirror investigation revealed how 82 per cent of councils had slashed the number of home care visits they provide in the past year. The new details about the soaring costs of the visits which are still ongoing emerged after a probe by the Labour Party. They ­submitted Freedom of Information requests to 120 ­councils, which revealed the average charge for an hour of home care is now £13.61 – up from £12.29 in 2010.

This increase means the bill for someone who pays for 10 hours of home care a week is now £7,077 a year, up more than £680 on last year.

And one in 10 people who had their home care fully paid by the local council last year have seen it removed during 2012.

Gary FitzGerald, of Action on Elder Abuse, said: “Councils are failing in their duty of care to people. They are placing people at risk.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/home-carers-axed-for-our-old-and-most-848960

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