‘No one seems to care about the carers’


‘No one seems to care about the carers’

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editorial image Care: Full-time carers, Freda and Albert Redfearn with their daughter Lorraine at their home in Bamber Bridge

Published on Friday 1 April 2011 11:50

A FAMILY of a severely disabled woman has blasted cuts to public spending and claim they will be left unable to cope.

Lancashire County Council chiefs approved plans to cut services for the disabled and elderly by more than £60m over the next three years, including axing care for up to 3,900 disabled people.

Thousands more will be affected by plans to slash transport services for the most vulnerable and reduce the level of non-residential social care services.

The cost of day care facilities will also rise by up to 960% for some residents, sparking fears some of the county’s most vulnerable will be left isolated.

Freda, 73, and Albert Redfearn, 74, from Withy Grove Crescent, Bamber Bridge, have hit out after respite care for their 52-year-old daughter Lorraine, who suffers from cerebral palsy and needs 24-hour care, was slashed.

Freda said: “Nobody seems to care about the carers – respite is our lifeline. We are in our 70s and we are struggling to cope as it is. We are not getting any younger.

“Most people raise their children until they are teenagers but we don’t have that luxury. Our daughter will always need our round-the-clock attention but nobody seems to care about that.

“How are we supposed to go on like this at our age without the help we need?”

The family are angry that the amount of respite care Lorraine can access has been reduced from 49 nights a year to 42.

It comes after cuts to respite services for children with disabilities were announced earlier in the year.

Children face having the amount of respite nights they can access capped at a maximum of 75 nights a year from the current cap of more than 100 nights.

Freda said: “I don’t begrudge children getting respite but it is not fair they are allowed up to 75 nights a year while disabled adults are only allowed 42.

“It should be assessed on levels of disability, not age.

“Out daughter’s disability won’t get any better with age, so she shouldn’t lose services simply because of her age.”

County Coun Mike Calvert, Cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “The county council supports carers by providing vouchers that can be exchanged for home care or overnight stays in a care home.

“These are not means tested and people often receive this type of subsidised support in addition to other services to support the person they care for.

“Most carers are assessed as needing 28 vouchers.

“However 42 vouchers are issued to those carers who are under severe pressure. In exceptional circumstances, more than 42 vouchers can be issued to cover particular situations as a ‘one off’.

“Respite vouchers are subsidised from the carers’ grants and in common with all other resources, they have to be used fairly and effectively.”