Disgraceful’ increase in great-grandmother’s care costs

Veronica Elliot, 90, who faces a large increase in her care costs

12:10pm Friday 20th April 2012 in Darlington   By Andy Walker

A COUNCIL has been accused of letting down the older generation after hundreds of people saw an increase in the amount they contribute towards their care costs.

In November last year, Darlington Borough Council changed the way it assessed people’s ability to pay for their care.

A total of 326 people across the borough were affected by the change.

Great-grandmother Veronica Elliot, who lives in sheltered accommodation block Ted Fletcher Court, has seen her monthly liability jump from £160 to £300.

The 90-year-old, who has visits from carers twice a day – about nine hours a week – described the increase as disgusting.

She said: “I am very upset about this, it is a lot of money to have to fork out.

“I will either have to pay up or try to plod on on my own.”

Mrs Elliot, who is registered blind and survived breast cancer 30 years ago, said the level of care she needs has not changed recently, so cannot understand why her contribution has gone up.

Her son, Peter Horan, said: “My mum’s generation deserves better. I just think – and I do not use this word lightly – that this is a disgraceful increase.

“I could perhaps understand a modest rise, like if it was another £10 a week they wanted, but this works out at more than three times that.”

The council said it made the changes to bring it in line with statutory requirements and the way other councils calculate their figures.

It stressed that the changes had been made following extensive consultation.

A spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry to hear of Mr Horan’s distress at changes to the way financial contributions for his mother’s care are calculated, “When looking at people’s ability to pay for their own care, we had previously only taken into account half of the money they received as a severe disability premium. We now take into account the full amount.

“We are more than happy to talk to Mr Horan about his concerns and to establish if there is any additional support or advice we can provide at this time.”